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Hartford University Votes to Move From D-I to D-III

Brock Fritz

Two months after competing in its first NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, the University of Hartford has officially started the process of dropping down to Division III.

According to the Hartford Courant, the Hartford University Board of Regents voted Thursday to transition from Division I to Division III. Hartford, a private university in Connecticut, will reportedly submit a formal request to the NCAA in January 2022, with the hopes of reclassifying by Sept. 1, 2025.

"A move to Division III will allow the University to further strengthen the academic, co-curricular, and wellness experience for all students," board of regents chair David Gordon said in a statement, according to ESPN. "While we know this decision will disappoint some members of our community, we remain confident that this shift is in the best long-term interests of the institution and all its students."

“It’s a day of mixed emotions for us, without question,” board of regents vice chair Kathy Behrens said, according to the Courant. “The board has been thoughtful and careful in our deliberations. I thought the discussion we had this evening was reflective of that.

“I think this was clear this was the direction the board felt we should go in. Having said that, we realize it’s disappointing to a lot of people. We feel like it sets the university up on a good path for long-term success.”

Hartford’s potential move to Division III first became public in April, with WTNH reporting that Hartford and Carr Sports Consulting conducted a feasibility study on Division I athletics this winter. The study found that the school loses roughly $13 million in athletics, and that moving to Division III would save $9.2 million per year.

Related content: After Making First D-I Tourney, Hartford Considers D-III

“Everyone thinks you make the tournament you hit the jackpot. We didn’t get a cent from the tournament and congratulations to our great kids but we are losing money doing this,” university president Gregory Woodward told WTNH last month, soon after Hartford lost to eventual NCAA champion Baylor in the first round of the tournament. “I don’t think what the world understands is that everyone who plays Division-I sports loses money, except for about 22 schools. There are about 350 schools in Division-I, only 23 make money the rest of us lose.”

More than 100 students marched on the West Hartford campus in protest last month, while a change.org petition arguing that the school should stay in Division I received nearly 6,000 signatures.

Related content: Hartford Athletes Protest Potential D-III Move

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