St. Joseph (Conn.) to add men's sports

The O'Connell Athletic Center will host the university's new men's basketball team starting in 2018-19.
St. Joseph (Conn.) file photo

As part of its decision to begin enrolling full-time male undergraduate students in 2018-19, St. Joseph (Conn.) announced that it will add men's athletics, starting with basketball and soccer that same year.

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut in 1932, the University of St. Joseph has had an undergraduate women's college with coeducational graduate and doctorate programs. The University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the move to a coed undergraduate student body following an eight-month review process earlier this month.

"This is a very exciting day for everyone associated with the University of Saint Joseph," said University president Rhona Free in the school's release. "With today's decision, we reaffirm our commitment of educational excellence to our undergraduate women students, reinforce our culture of openness, diversity and inclusion established by our Sisters of Mercy founders, and continue our mission of responding to the needs and interests of today's students."

According to the Hartford Courant, the University expects to have 50 undergraduate students in fall 2018 and field men's teams in basketball and soccer. The Blue Jays currently have eight women's programs competing in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

St. Joseph (Conn.) is already a full-member of the NCAA so its men's programs will be eligible for NCAA postseason play and games against the Blue Jays will count as regional contests immediately.

The West Hartford-based school is the latest in a series of women's only colleges to begin accepting male undergraduate students. Free cited that trend in St. Joseph's announcement.

"Studies show that less than one percent of full-time female college students today attend a women's college and only two percent of female high school seniors say they would consider attending a women's college. Admitting men will open our doors to 98 percent more women who would otherwise not even consider our high quality, distinctive educational experience here at USJ."

Division III schools that have recently gone coed

2018-19: St. Joseph (Conn.)
2017-18: None
2016-17: New RochelleSt. Elizabeth
2015-16: Chatham
2014-15: Pine Manor, Wilson
2013-14: William Peace