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Hartford softball joins the protests over upcoming Division III move

Players taped over the school name before they took the field on Friday.

Robert Carmody

A day after the University of Hartford board of regents voted to transition the school’s athletics program to Division III, the student athletes have begun to speak out.

On Friday, every Hartford softball player took the field for a doubleheader against Binghamton with the school name taped over on their jerseys in protest. The message was simple: We don’t play for you.

This announcement has drawn criticism from across the sports world, elevated by its timing. It comes just over a month after the men’s basketball team reached the Division I tournament for the first time ever, ultimately losing to national champion Baylor.

After initially being told this move was to cut costs, the university now claims that the move was not due to financial reasons but to stay within the university mission.

Funny how Division I athletics fit the mission for 30 years, yet suddenly it doesn’t. Not to mention that seemingly the only person in the state of Connecticut who didn’t congratulate men’s basketball head coach John Gallagher was the university president. The town of West Hartford even celebrated Men’s Basketball Day for them. Hell, the Governor was even there!

Am I little bit salty?

Naturally. I live and breathe Hartford athletics.

But the Hartford Hawks’ base will not take this lightly or lying down. There will be protests. There’s already a petition to oust the current president that has over 1,000 signatures.

If all this stands, the university will downgrade to Division III by no later than 2025.