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Examining Hartford’s Decision To Leave Division I

ByAndrew Pistone

Published on Sun Aug 15 2021

|

2 min read

Examining Hartford’s Decision To Leave Division I

Even though the University of Hartford announced their decision to leave Division I athletics in favor of Division III in May, their election to remove themselves from big time college athletics is still being discussed in many circles.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense as to why a school would want to voluntarily disassociate themselves from the premier body of amateur athletics in the United States.

Hartford men’s basketball player D.J. Mitchell was completely caught off guard by the university’s decision, and did not appreciate the school’s Board of Regents’ conclusion on this matter.

“I can’t believe this is even in question after the last four years in our program’s history. I’m in awe. The president completely discredited what me and many others have sacrificed for the school,” Mitchell expressed. “I really hope it’s all just talk but I don’t know what to think.” Via CBS Sports

Despite the school’s decision to leave Division I in May, the transition will not be immediate.

Hartford still has to officially file its desire to move to Division III, and will likely do that early next year. The NCAA will need to approve Hartford’s request, and if granted, they will transition over by September 2025 at the latest.

It would appear is if the school’s decision would in part come down to money, which is not all that surprising. A study done by the school in conjunction with CarrSports determined that the university would actually save just over $9 million if they moved over to Division III. The study features a comprehensive budget and forecasting calculation about how Hartford’s bottomline would be significantly bolstered by such a transition.

There’s also a potential academic component to this pronouncement. Schools in Division I and Division II athletics are subjected to eligibility rules governed by the NCAA. Division III schools, however, are able to set their own rules with regards to academic eligibility of athletes. Hartford can decide to raise those qualifications to create a more rigorous standard, or they can reduce them and focus more on the athletic prowess of a recruit.

According to the NCAA, even though Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, 80

of athletes receive some sort of aid. Additionally, one out of every six students in Division III is an athlete, which can allow for a less pressurized arena for young athletes to improve on the playing field and in the classroom.

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