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University of Hartford joins new conference amid Division III transition

The university is moving its athletic teams from Division I to Division III in the coming years and will join the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Hartford is poised to join a new athletic conference, amid its ongoing transition from NCAA Division I athletics to Division III.

The university announced Tuesday it has been accepted to join the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) and begin competition in the 2023-24 academic year. The University of Hartford will be the 11th member of the CCC once it begins competing.

"We are excited about the natural rivalries that will unfold and look forward to the competitive future of Hartford Athletics with our new conference partners," said University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward. "We have found the ideal conference to ensure the success of our landmark reclassification to Division III."

RELATED: UHart student athletes speak out about potential division change

Students, student-athletes, and other members of the campus community have been critical of the university after announcing its intention to transition to Division III athletics in the spring of 2021, months after the university's men's basketball team clinched a berth in their first-ever NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

"The CCC Board has been most impressed with UHart's thorough strategic planning, vision for athletics, and solid commitment to providing expanded sport offerings," said University of New England President James Herbert, chair of the CCC Board of Directors. "Each of the CCC member institutions places the highest emphasis on providing elite academic and athletic opportunities that complement each other, and the CCC board is pleased to partner with an institution that has demonstrated a commitment to these values."

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The University of Hartford said it would remain Division I heading into the 2022-23 academic year. The Hartford Hawks athletic teams will compete as a Division I independent school for the upcoming academic year.

RELATED: UHart softball team covers school name on jerseys after division drop decision

The University of Hartford had been competing in the America East Conference since it joined back in 1984.

The university says it is not offering new athletic scholarships to incoming student-athletes, but existing scholarships will be honored.

The University of Hartford is expected to begin active membership in Division III as of September 2025.

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