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Athletics Transition

Additional Information

This page provides up-to-date information relevant to UHart's transition to DIII, including an initial timeline and FAQs. For questions not listed on this page, please email:

feedback@hartford.edu

The University will review your question and will have the appropriate contact reach out to you as soon as possible.

After more than a year of discussions and information gathering, the Board of Regents voted to begin the multi-year process of transitioning the University of Hartford’s intercollegiate athletic programs from Division I to Division III.

As a result of careful consideration and due diligence, the Board determined that Division III’s approach to intercollegiate athletics better aligns with the University’s mission and goals of creating exceptional academic, co-curricular, and wellness experiences for all students.

In its deliberations, the Board recognized the many ways in which generations of student-athletes and athletics alumni represent the University in and out of uniform and acknowledged the significant positive impact they have had on our institution.

Timeline

The transition to DIII is a complex, multi-year administrative process. This high-level timeline shares key milestones in that process and will be updated as we continue through the NCAA process.

Academic Year 2021-22

University of Hartford remains Division I.

January 2022: The University of Hartford submits a formal request to the NCAA for reclassification from Division I to Division III.

February 2022: The NCAA will act on the reclassification request. If approved, the University will work with the NCAA on the reclassification process, in preparation for active membership no later than September 1, 2025.

Academic Year 2022-23

University of Hartford remains Division I, but will not offer new athletic scholarships to incoming student-athletes. The existing athletic scholarships for all returning sophomores, juniors, seniors and grad students will be honored. The University may pursue additional competition opportunities as we seek provisional membership in a DIII conference.

Academic year 2023-24

The University of Hartford will pursue provisional membership in a new DIII conference, in anticipation of membership the following year. The existing athletic scholarships for all returning juniors, seniors and graduate students will be honored.

At the end of this academic year, any student-athlete planning to enroll the following year (2024-2025) will be asked to elect if they wish to continue to compete. If so, they will be repackaged on academic and need based aid. Depending on the student, this may be the same or similar packaging. However, if a student chooses to retain their full or partial athletic scholarship, they are able to do so, but will not be able to compete the following year under NCAA rules.

Academic Year 2024-25

University of Hartford administers its athletics program consistent with all NCAA DIII policies and procedures. All students will have been transitioned off of athletic scholarships if competing, per NCAA rules.

September 2025: University of Hartford begins active membership in DIII

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that many members of our community may have questions about how this impacts them. Below is a list of FAQs that will be updated throughout this transition. 

2021:

This decision will not impact your athletic experience.

2022:

You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored.

2023:

You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored. As early as 2022-23 and no later than 2023-24, teams will not be eligible for championship play.

2024:

You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored. As early as 2022-23 and no later than 2023-24, teams will not be eligible for championship play.

2025:

You can compete as a UHart Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored through 2023-2024. As early as 2022-23 and no later than 2023-24, teams will not be eligible for championship play. For the 2024-25 academic year, you will be asked to elect if you wish to continue to compete. If so, your athletic scholarship will be repackaged as academic and need-based aid. Depending on your individual situation, this may be the same or similar packaging. However, you can also choose to retain a full or partial athletic scholarship, but you will not be able to compete the following year under NCAA rules.

The University’s Board has engaged for more than a year in thoughtful and strategic conversations about providing an exceptional academic and campus experience for all students, of which our intercollegiate athletics is an integral part. Our Board and leadership recognize the need to continue to make intentional investments in our students and in areas like access and affordability, in-demand academic programs, residential life facilities and experiences, athletics, student support services, health and wellness, and career preparation. All of our 6,507 students and many of their families are investing in their future and we take that investment to heart.
 
With this in mind, we believe the mission of Division III athletics is the best path to reach our academic, campus experience, and athletics goals. DIII bridges the academic and sport opportunities that are hallmarks of higher education and stresses that our student-athletes are–first and foremost–members of our campus community pursuing academic degrees while enriching themselves and our community through athletic competition.

The transition to DIII is a complex, multi-year administrative process that includes approvals from the NCAA and will involve our current and future conferences.

Should you choose to consider transferring to another institution, the NCAA has procedures in place that govern that process. You may wish to start this process by speaking with your current coach or a member of the athletics compliance staff. You can also find information on the NCAA website.

The way that this decision will impact your scholarship depends on where you are in your progress toward a degree.

  • 2022: You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored.
  • 2023: You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored. Beginning in 2022-23, teams will not be eligible for championship play.
  • 2024: You can compete as a Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored. Beginning in 2022-23, teams will not be eligible for championship play.
  • 2025: You can compete as a UHart Hawk in DI competition next year and your existing athletic scholarship will be honored through 2023-2024. Beginning in 2022-23, teams will not be eligible for championship play. For the 2024-25 academic year, you will be asked to elect if you wish to continue to compete. If so, your athletic scholarship will be repackaged as academic and need-based aid. Depending on your individual situation, this may be the same or similar packaging. However, you can also choose to retain a full or partial athletic scholarship, but you will not be able to compete the following year under NCAA rules.

No. Any program that commands such a large share of our resources must be regularly examined by our leadership and Board to assess whether it is the best possible use of our resources. All UHart students deserve the best experience we can provide, including the prioritization of investments in their education and future.

The conferences extend invitations for membership, therefore our new conference is not yet known. 

The decision to move to DIII intercollegiate athletics is to align the University’s mission and goals to their athletic offerings. For that reason, this decision isn’t based in savings and instead is focused on opportunities for more athletic and wellness opportunities for all students. 

These shifts are rare, but not without precedent. 

The Board has been in discussions about the future of UHart athletics for more than a year. We are exceptionally proud of the accomplishments of all of our teams this year, including the men’s basketball team’s first championship tournament appearance. At the same time, the Board must exercise its responsibilities as financial and strategic stewards of the University.

The move to DIII is a multi-year process that will include a comprehensive strategic planning process that will address all aspects of the Hawks athletics program, including individual teams.

The exact athletic opportunities will be determined if and when our request to transition to DIII is approved. Regardless of what division we compete in, the University will continue to invest in recreation, health, and wellness for all its students. 

No. Each division of NCAA intercollegiate athletics has pros and cons and, in this case, the approach associated with DIII best meets the mission and goals of UHart’s offerings for all students. The rhetoric that DIII is a downgrade is disrespectful to the thousands of DIII student-athletes in Connecticut and across the country.

While our athletics donors are generous and we are deeply appreciative of their support, it is worth sharing that an average fundraising year brings in less than 10% of the athletics operating deficit and 4% of total annual athletics expenses. While fundraising has increased across campus initiatives in recent years, the gap between athletics fundraising and the resources necessary to support athletics operations and students is vast, equal to the entire University's fundraising efforts each year.

The median expenses among these programs are significantly higher than our current investment. The University has weathered the financial impact of COVID-19 well, our overall budget is balanced and our finances are solid. However, a continued investment of this magnitude in an intercollegiate athletics program with a budgetary deficit is not responsible.

The University is extremely proud of our Men’s Basketball Team. Their dedication and success this year was positive and powerful. 
 
In non-COVID times, the winner of the America East men’s and women’s basketball championships receives a $25,000 bonus. This year, due to COVID and costs the conference has absorbed for testing along with no championships ticket revenue, the conference’s Executive Committee agreed to hold on distributing those bonuses until there was a better sense of this year’s conference budget. The University of Hartford formally received this bonus payment for our appearance in the 2021 NCAA tournament at the end of May. 
 
Aside from that, the only other way to earn more money from participation in the NCAA MBB tournament under the America East conference policy is to win a game(s). Under that scenario, the institution does earn more. Since we did not win, that did not apply. 

Please note: all information is subject to NCAA policies and procedures throughout the transition process.