University of Hartford

UHart Softball Alters Uniforms to Protest School's Move to Division III

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The University of Hartford Softball team took to the field Friday with the school's name blacked out on their uniforms.

It was a move to protest the university's decision to move its athletics from Division I to Division III.

The team played a double-header against Binghamton University with the altered uniforms Friday.

The Board of Regents said Thursday night's vote came after 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," school president Gregory 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.”

UHart student-athletes said the decision is shocking and that they felt they didn't get any say in the decision.

"I was like what in the world, it's not supposed to happen. We just had a team meeting with Coach Gal and the team," Briggs McClain, who plays on the basketball team, said. "When you're down and you're struggling just having your community and your brothers to lean o and help you get through it. Next year we're just going to have to come on strong and prove to people why we're supposed to be D I."

"It's a shock. Obviously we wan tot fight it and make them second-guess their decision to do this," teammate Hunter Marks added.

Associated Press & NBC Connecticut
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