HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Hartford Board of Regents voted on Thursday in favor of transitioning from a Division I Athletic program to a Division III program.
A spokesperson for the university said the decision comes after a year-long discussion and study of its current athletics model.
The spokesperson added several alternatives like financial information related to current athletics operations and a review conducted by a nationally recognized athletics consulting firm was also used to determine a decision.
“Intercollegiate athletics has long been an integral part of the University of Hartford student experience and that will not change,” said University of Hartford Board of Regents chair David Gordon. “At the same time, a move to Division III will allow the University to further strengthen the academic, co-curricular, and wellness experience for all students. 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.”
UHart will file its intent to move to Division III in January of 2022. The university will work with the NCAA on the reclassification process and is expected to become a member of DIII no later than September 1, 2025.
The NCAA would have to approve UHart's intent before it can begin the transition process.
“The University of Hartford owes so much to the generations of student-athletes and athletics staff who have added immeasurably to our community and are a source of pride for the University,” said University of Hartford President Gregory S. Woodward. “As we transition to this new model for intercollegiate athletics in the coming years, I am energized by the opportunities we will have to support the success of all of our students, including our student-athletes.”
The move comes off the heels of the Hawks men's basketball team recently winning their first America East tournament and appearing in their first NCAA tournament, losing to eventual champs Baylor.
Hawk's head coach John Gallagher released a statement regarding the transition on Twitter.
"I am extremely disappointed in the Board of Regents's vote yesterday," wrote Gallagher. "We met as a team (Friday) and we made an untied decision that we are staying together to play next season. We will fight hard to repeat our success and continue to elevate this program to new heights."
Gallagher added, "I care deeply about my tremendous student-athletes, my coaching staff, the entire university, and the greater Hartford community. We are thankful for all the low and support from the #neighborhood."
Students opposing the move rallied in April, marching across campus and administrative buildings.
“We work hard to get to this D1 level, to see it being taken away and going to D3. We were just shocked that it was a conversation to be had when we think there are other places the University could look at to save money,” said Volleyball Captain and senior Megan Anderson during the rally.
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