For well over 100 student athletes, their coaches, and many supporters this week has been a tragedy. Students lost their teams, coaches lost their jobs, and parents and loved ones can only helplessly watch.
At times like this it’s natural to look for someone to blame.
The facts are that the school decided to remove two million dollars from the budget of UB Athletics and Director Greene and company felt the only way to plug that hole was to cut four sports.
I’ve had a couple of conversations with some people in the department and the cold demeanor they wear in public quickly melts away. They know what they did sucks, they also know they had no choice.
For the past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time tearing into Sullivan and other media personalities, people who really don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Their tripe this week is not really a departure from the normal fecal matter they throw, but it has to be challenged. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.
What’s far more disturbing to me is how the negative media and the real pain of the people involved has enabled the construction of a convenient scapegoat, the football team.
First the media was saying it, then the narrative was picked up by the people who follow Bucky and Sullivan but who don’t really understand college athletics. The casual Buffalonian who can’t be bothered to go to a free D1 soccer game but feels like it’s their right to crap on the program.
Then I started to see it from student athletes from the effected teams...
Everyone try to take a deep breath here.
At this point I had several hundred words talking about how 12,000 in hotel fees per home game, or 3,000 to book a pre-game cover band was not the problem.
I had figures showing that a move to FCS was mainly a revenue neutral proposition. Maybe it saves 100,000 or maybe it loses 100,000.
I was just going to rehash the same things I’ve been arguing about on twitter all day.
But I deleted it all, because none of that really matters.
The football players, like the women’s crew team, the men’s soccer team, the UB baseball team, and the guys of Swim Dive all give everything they have.
This is not like when UB dropped Hockey to upgrade football. You had two choices, take away the scholarships of football players or cut the some other sports. Between the cut sports there were just shy of 50 scholarships (Many of the players were on a partial scholarship, or no scholarship at all). Dropping, even if it would have saved money, to FCS would have meant cutting 22 football players and a reduction of 22 women's scholarships (in all likely-hood the end of Rowing).
I don’t value the men’s soccer players any more or less than the football players.
We have been covering the Buffalo Bulls for almost ten years, and all of the athletes make me proud to be an alumnus.
Damn it I hate to see the division. I hate to see some UB athletes pointing the finger at other UB athletes, and that’s the exact wrong response to have right now.
All of the work, honor, scholarship, and pride put in by Ryan Pereira was also put in by Tyree Jackson.
My advice to the students who have lost their teams, please don’t let the rhetoric of small minded people who aim to sell papers push you to resent football, basketball, or any other surviving sport.
Your playing days at UB have been cut short, and it sucks beyond measure.... But the other UB athletes are still your uBrothers. Don’t let some knuckle head at the Buffalo News convince you otherwise.
My advice to the students whose teams have survived this financial culling, please show love and support to those who did not. Please bear with the normal human reflex to assign blame, even if you are the unjust target.
If you are attacked by a student athlete who lost their sport, you don’t need to defend yourselves. Let them be angry, you know you would have felt the same way if football was dropped to add Hockey.
Sometimes people just need to cry and be angry. A wise person once wrote that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and we should mourn with those who mourn.
That is all I have. Regards all.