Black Monday – Buffalo Cancels Football
On a chilly Monday back on this date (January 11th) in 1971, Dr. Robert L. Ketter, president of the State University of New York at Buffalo, announced UB was dropping intercollegiate football because it had been losing money over the past five seasons. Not even the receipts from a regionally televised game in the fall of 1970 against Holy Cross would help reduce the debt the football program had built up.
Dr. Robert L. Ketter said the university decided to drop football “because of insufficient financial support, both in the recent past and in the foreseeable future. Therefore, and with great reluctance, we are today notifying each of our scheduled football opponents that we will be unable to fulfill our commitments to play in 1971 and beyond.”
Dr. Ketter mentioned that more than 100,000 people live within easy distance of UB’s Rotary Field, but that the 1970 season drew an average attendance of slightly more than 6,000 per game. “We can’t say the area is really excited about intercollegiate football,” the UB President stated.
Although players receiving athletic scholarships would continue to receive them as long as they attended the university, the players were devastated. Many of the players said the abolition of the team caught them completely by surprise and those with eligibility remaining were unsure whether to try to transfer to other colleges.
“It really is too hard to believe,” said junior quarterback Kirk Barton of Endicott, NY. “I can’t for the life of me think who’d put up money for me to go somewhere else when I have a bum knee and only one year of eligibility left,” he mused.
By the fall of 1977, with the support of students, alumni and administration, UB restarted its football program albeit at the Division III level. For more information on football at the University at Buffalo, visit the UB Sports History Collection website.Tags: Buffalo Bulls Football History