University of Hartford Athletics Considering Switch from DI to DIII Model

Amid financial hemorrhaging, the University of Hartford is considering leaving its NCAA Division I post for a Division III membership “that would align more closely with the university’s mission.”

According to a report from WTNH News 8, obtained through Carr Sports Consulting, a company run by former UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway, Hartford loses roughly $13 million a year on athletics.

hartfordAlong with the large financial losses, the report also found a feasibility study that states the Division I funding model is not viable and cannot achieve the goal of becoming more self-sufficient.

The story first broke shortly after the University of Hartford men’s basketball team captured the America East Conference championship and represented the conference in the first round of the March Madness tournament against eventual champion Baylor.

“Look at the University of Hartford, how many of our players go pro one or two a year that’s not our goal. We will do the right thing for this university and all of our 7,000 students,” Hartford president Gregory Woodard said to News 8.

He added to the news station that even getting to the NCAA tournament wouldn’t change the fact that the school loses millions in athletics.

“Everyone thinks you make 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,” said Woodward to News 8. “I don’t think what the world understands is that everyone who plays Division One sports loses money, except for about 22 schools. There are about 350 schools in Division One, only 23 make money the rest of us lose.”

» ALSO SEE: UMaine Study Examines Hazing in NCAA DIII College Athletics

In 1984, Hartford athletics moved to Division I in search of a national and more competitive schedule and higher visibility for the University. The Hawks were accepted into the ECAC North Atlantic Conference, which later became the America East, of which UHart today remains a charter member. Its athletic department has produced professional athletes like Jeff Bagwell (MLB), Vin Baker (NBA), Tim Petrovic, Patrick Sheehan, and Jerry Kelly (PGA Tour), and Tracey Kelusky (NLL).

To read more about the University of Hartford struggling financially to keep up its Division I athletics model, click here