Just weeks after winning the 2021 America East (AE) Men’s Basketball Championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament, a shocking report was leaked regarding the University of Hartford’s athletics programs. On Friday, WTNH News 8 in Connecticut reported that the institution is considering significant changes to its athletics department, including possibly dropping its programs down to the Division III level.
The report, prepared by CarrSports Consulting, assessed the “feasibility” of Division I athletics at Hartford. According to News 8, its key conclusions were that Hartford loses $13 million per year on athletics and that the Division I model is not financially viable, meaning the program “cannot achieve the goal of becoming more self-sustaining.”
The recommendation of the study was that “[Hartford] should explore viable membership options in NCAA Division III that will align with the university’s mission.”
“Obviously, it has gotten out,” University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward told News 8. “The document you are holding is supposed to be confidential.”
Of the 10 athletics programs in the AE, Hartford is the only private institution. In a time when all levels of college athletics are dealing with financial losses due to COVID-19, Hartford’s lack of government funding may have exacerbated those concerns.
“Everyone thinks you make the tournament, you hit the jackpot,” Woodward said. “We didn’t get a cent from the tournament and congratulations to our great kids, but we are losing money doing this. I don’t think what the world understands is that everyone who plays Division I sports loses money, except for about 22 schools. There are about 350 schools in Division I, only 23 make money — the rest of us lose.”
The Binghamton men’s and women’s lacrosse teams hosted Hartford the day after News 8’s report aired. The Hawks won the men’s matchup, but the Bearcats won the women’s game.