University at Buffalo students held a “sit-in” outside President Satish Tripathi’s office today, protesting the cuts to four UB sports teams.
Now, 31-year UB alum Richard Lydecker is threatening to sue the university over the decision to cut those teams – particularly UB swimming, to which he’s donated $15,000 since 2015.
UB cut men’s soccer, women’s rowing, men’s swimming and diving, and men’s baseball last month without warning the 120 athletes and nine couches it would affect.
Lydecker, a civil litigator, says he’s outraged UB solicited his pledge to give up to $50,000 to the men’s swim team but cut the program without warning. Lydecker wrote a letter to Tripathi asking for his money back, and for the school to reverse its decision to cut the teams and give alumni two years to raise funds. He also plans to sue UB on behalf of six swimmers, demanding UB pay all expenses for the students as they transfer to other universities to keep swimming.
UB responded to the student protest with a statement today:
“We understand how deeply disappointed our student-athletes and coaches are regarding the reduction in our athletic programs. This very difficult decision was made because of the unfortunate reality that we no longer have the resources to suppose 20 competitive Division I teams. We are diligently working to provide our student-athletes with the support they need during the transition.”