The cuts announced to UB's athletics department this week are "just wrong" according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Poloncarz, a University at Buffalo alumnus, says he was texting with UB President Satish Tripathi after the cuts were announced Monday.
"Soccer is in some ways one of the greatest participation and growing sports in our country. And our men's soccer team just came back with having one of the best records it ever had. And also the members of the men's soccer team have the highest GPA of many of our students. And it was cut. And I expressed my disappointment to the president," Poloncarz said.
Along with men's soccer, men's baseball, swimming and diving and the women's rowing program are being eliminated at the end of the spring semester. President Tripathi said, on Monday, "the unfortunate reality is that UB no longer has the resources to support 20 Division I programs." Poloncarz points out that college football is expensive.
"I have attended football and basketball games in the past including this past year. I've always said that this is a Bill's town. And as much as I know the university is trying to push college football, it's tough to push college football in a Bill's town," Poloncarz said.
And as a hockey coach, Poloncarz says, UB should have ice hockey above the club level.
"The UB, D-III, club hockey team, just won the national championship back to back. First time that's happened in the club level D-III. And they've got great hockey players, that are playing club level, that could easily go up to Division I NCAA's. But the university doesn't want to invest in that program," Poloncarz said.
Instead, UB is planning to build a new multi-million dollar field house.
"You hate to see a decision like this being made because of budgetary issues when I think they can all succeed if the spending and revenues are appropriated more evenly," Poloncarz said.
It also looks bad, Poloncarz says, that UB cut the programs after recruiting high school athletes. He says it all makes UB look small. The university did not respond to an interview request about the County Executive's comments.