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Federal judge tosses lawsuit from student-athletes over UHart's move to Division III

Hartford players watch the final moments of their loss to Baylor during a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Friday, March 19, 2021, in Indianapolis, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey
/
AP
Hartford players watch the final moments of their loss to Baylor during a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Friday, March 19, 2021, in Indianapolis, Tenn.

A judge has ended a lawsuit brought by a group of former Division I student athletes against the University of Hartford.

The students sued over the school's decision to downgrade its athletic program from Division I to Division III.

The Univeristy of Hartford announced its decision to transition its athletics programs from Division I to Division III in May 2021. The decision came shortly after the Hartford Hawks men's basketball team reached the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time ever.

In a federal lawsuit, students alleged the university had promised that their athletic experience would be unchanged during the 2021-22 school year, but said those athletic programs began to wither.

A federal judge rejected that argument in a decision filed this week.

The judge says no such promise made to the players. And the school says the students did get their scholarship money.

The NCAA approved the school's move to Division III in March 2022 and the school will begin playing in a new athletic conference beginning in the 2023-24 academic year.

Connecticut Public Radio's Patrick Skahill contributed to this report.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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