We Should Switch to Division 3 Athletics



Andrew Prokop, Managing Editor

Following rumors that the administration at the University of Hartford has been contemplating a change from Division 1 athletics to Division 3 athletics, President Woodward was found to be supposedly recruiting faculty to join the cause. Once this hit the press and made its way out to the student body, the backlash was very immediate and negative especially following one of the greatest athletic successes in school history. Our men’s basketball team qualifies for the national tournament following a conference championship. President Woodward, in response, shifted to a display of transparency as he released the report put together by an athletic consultant firm for the school. If you are interested in finding all the facts and specific details, this story isn’t for you (instead, read one of our news/sport section stories). In a sea of anger and frustration from students, alumni, and prominent figures around the athletic world (I’m talking to you, SVP), I would like to play a devil’s advocate of sorts. We should change to a Division 3 athletics’ school. 

I understand how tough that may be to hear as students, alumni, and others interested in seeing Uhart continue to grow and thrive in the realm of athletics. As a student, watching my school compete on the largest stage against the best team (literally) was an unbelievable experience. Looking at the TV and saying that you took a class with that guy, while albeit a small victory, is still really nice and shows the strong sense of community we pride ourselves on. Driving through the city and seeing Hartford covered in black and red, and taking pride in the hometown team is hard to describe. Many people would even say that it is priceless. The truth is it isn’t priceless. It is actually worth about a roughly 13-million-dollar loss for the school. Yes, you read that correctly, 13 MILLION.  

As a private school funding is much more difficult to come by and most comes directly from students, alumni, or other generous people that like to see Uhart thrive. When the school takes that large of a loss, the school has to make large cuts or go back to those sources for more money. That is not a sustainable trend going forward, and while I certainly feel bad for some student-athletes, the good outweighs the cost. 

Athletics does not take as large of a hit as they make it out to be. Simply put, athletics won’t be taken away. We will still have wonderful sports teams that we can support with as much enthusiasm, if not more than we currently have. All the D1 athletes will not lose their scholarships, they will finish their four years, and future athletes will not be offered scholarships as we transition to D3, which is consistent with how that division is run. Some sports teams can even stay D1, especially teams that have displayed success on that higher level like our basketball team or the baseball team both of which won their conferences in the previous season.

Then you look at what that money means for the rest of the school, more funding to programs, residential facilities, and clubs and services on campus. It is even possible that this money could go help decrease the steady increase in tuition that is seen every year. The report is highly comprehensive and shows how important it is to make this transition and encourage you to read through it. Almost every student I know has complained about the facilities on campus or the cost of tuition, but when it comes to making the tough decisions that could help fix these problems, no one wants to make the change. While it is a sad idea and a tough decision, sometimes you need to cut off an arm to save the body.