Hartwick to downgrade men's soccer, making it a Division III sport

Hartwick College's board of trustees announced on Wednesday that it has voted to end its participation in NCAA Division I sports for men's soccer and women's water polo.

Hartwick will continue to offer men's soccer as one of its Division III sports but discontinue women's water polo. Men's soccer has been a Division I at Hartwick since 1973.

Hartwick won the 1977 NCAA Division I men's soccer championship, making it the smallest school to ever win a Division I championship. It made seven final four appearances in all (1970, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1985) and produced back-to-back Hermann Trophy winners in Glenn Myernick (1976) and Billy Gazonas (1977).

But only three of Hartwick's 25 NCAA Tournament appearances came in the last 20 years. It most recently qualified in 2015 when it won the Sun Belt title. It went 7-9-2 in 2017.

Hartwick, which first sponsored soccer in 1956 and has been the only non-Division I school playing Division I soccer in recent years, has jumped around from conference to conference to find a consistent schedule, from the Atlantic Soccer Conference to Mid-American and finally the Sun Belt. The closest soccer school in the Sun Belt is Howard, based in Washington, D.C.

In its letter to the Hartwick committee, the board said the school provides over $925,000 per year in extraordinary athletic aid to 54 Division I student-athletes in addition to standard merit and need-based financial aid of $1.3 million. Women’s water polo was added as a Hartwick Division I varsity sport in 2001 to meet Title IX guidelines.

Hartwick currently sponsors 15 Division III sports and competes in the Empire 8 Conference. One in three students plays at the varsity level at Hartwick, which even added football.

The move to downgrade men's soccer had been discussed before by the board. One of the board members is former Hartwick All-American David Long, who is the chairman and CEO of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. He is one of a long line of Hartwick players who came over from Liverpool and include his brother Steve, a star on the 1977 championship team.
6 comments about "Hartwick to downgrade men's soccer, making it a Division III sport".
  1. Peter Martini, February 28, 2018 at 10:14 p.m.

    Incomplete reporting. So many questions not raised or answered, including what league will they join, what happens to current athletic scholarships, are players leaving to join D1 teams...? Coaching staff? Was there pressure from academia?
    Is more news coming from Soccer America? This is a good story to follow. 

  2. John Richardson, February 28, 2018 at 11:56 p.m.

    More schools will follow.  With all the MLS acadmeies there is a decent arguement that college soccer is becoming less logical and popular direction for a professional career and probably a waste of time for a gifted player. Division 3 is a good place for a kid wanting to play in college and get a college experience and degree. Lots of issues here but I predict more
    schools will follow. 

  3. s fatschel, March 1, 2018 at 9:55 a.m.

    D3 has no athletic scholarships so players staying will likley end up with financial or academic aid.  Not sure its needs to be a downgrade either.  Top D3 teams (e.g. UAA teams, Messiah, etc) will dispose of D1 teams on a regular basis during spring friendlies.  And anybody playing college already knows the chances of going pro are very small (see MLS draft history) and are focused on stable, better paying careers.  

  4. R2 Dad, March 1, 2018 at 11:48 a.m.

    Not sure why a player would choose D3 instead of the same college's club soccer team. Same soccer, less time committment.

  5. John Richardson replied, March 1, 2018 at 1:37 p.m.

    Many of the Div 3 schools are better academically than Div 1 and Div 2 universities. And still a great competitive soccer environment 

  6. s fatschel, March 1, 2018 at 12:43 p.m.

    A top level D3 is comparable to D1 soccer level.  In fact a team like Messiah plays better quality soccer than all but the most elite D1.  Very low level D3 may be comparable to a good club side but club would still lack many other aspects.

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