University of Hartford receives backlash after considering a downgrade to athletic program

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In relation to a story we covered recently, the University of Hartford is considering a downgrade to its athletic program. This comes weeks after its men’s basketball team made its first trip to the NCAA tournament.

There has been no shortage of feedback on this story on social media since it broke, including from current and former players of the university and at least one playing major league baseball.

Related: Exclusive: Could the University of Hartford downgrade its athletic program?

As we reported, the University Board of Trustees has been given a study that recommends UHart downgrade to Division III, arguing the school loses $13 million a year playing Division I.

University President Greg Woodward told us no decision has been made, but people are already speaking out.

UHart alumni in major league sports are upset about the change. Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb among them. Current players who just played in the tournament wrote the president a lengthy letter saying in part,

We believe the university will be making a mistake in downgrading to Division III just at the point when the program is succeeding.

Success in college athletics and college education are not mutually exclusive. Some of the schools with great educational reputations also have fiscally sound great Division I sports programs – like Big Ten schools. So why give up now? Why not get the road map of how successful division 1 schools run profitable sports programs – and come up with a game plan to achieve that success.

Now there is a petition being circulated called “Keep Hartford Athletics Division 1.” It was started by Pru Tucker of Maryland. At last check, there at least 1,600 signatures.

The Board of Trustees will meet next month.

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