WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Hartford is dropping its sports teams from Division I to Division III.
The decision comes after the Hartford men’s basketball team this season won its first America East championship and played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, losing to eventual national champion Baylor in the first round.
Hartford President Gregory Woodward said the school wants to “transition to this new model for intercollegiate athletics.”
The discussion to downgrade to Division III has sparked marches on campus led by athletes and a petition from alumni to remain in Division I.
The Board of Regents said Thursday night’s vote came after a a year of discussions. A consultants report released last month said the school could save more than $9 million a year by making the move.
The university said it will submit a formal request to the NCAA for reclassification in January 2022. It plans to stop offering athletic scholarships before the 2023-24 school year and hopes to complete the transition by Sept. 1, 2025.
The school joined Division I from Division II in the mid-1980s. It said it plans to honor all current scholarships and coaching contracts.
“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,” Woodward said in a statement.
“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.”