When the University of Hartford announced its decision to transition its athletic programs from Division I to Division III, ten student athletes and managers filed a lawsuit to try and block the move. They also sought monetary damages.
A federal judge has dismissed all but one of those claims of fraud and misrepresentation against the university.
U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea agreed the transition will impact the student-athletes' experience, but they largely failed to support claims that they agreed to enroll at the school based on fraudulent promises about competing at the Division I level for at least four years.
He wrote in his decision that "[the suit] fails to allege that the speaker knew any statements to be untrue."
Additionally, Shea wrote "this case is a reminder that a college coach’s recruiting pitch to a talented high school athlete provides no guarantee that her dreams of glory will be realized."
The University of Hartford said this decision supports its position.
“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling; it clearly supports our position from the beginning of this case,” said Molly Polk, Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment.
“The University of Hartford, like any private institution, has a duty and a right to make decisions that are in the best long-term interest of the school and the entire University community. The Division III intercollegiate athletics model better aligns with the University’s mission and goals of creating exceptional academic, athletic, co-curricular, and wellness experiences for all students. We look forward to submitting our NCAA transition application early in the new year," Polk continued.
Judge Shea did allow one of the ten athletes to continue pressing the suit on the claim that he enrolled based on the university’s “negligent admissions and breach of contract” over promises to remain a division one school for athletics.