Archive for Monday, July 20, 2015

Kansas State sticks with scrapping equestrian program

July 20, 2015

— Parents of equestrian athletes at Kansas State University are questioning the school's decision to cancel the program after an NCAA development.

The decision to cut the program re-emerged after the Waco, Texas-based National Collegiate Equestrian Association announced on its website Thursday that the NCAA had shelved an internal recommendation to cut off support for Division I equestrian. That internal recommendation dated to September 2014 and was cited by Kansas State soon after it revealed plans to scrap the sport in 2016 and replace it with women's soccer.

But the university's Athletics Department says the sport's viability remains unclear and the department won't reverse its decision, The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1e7nttP ) reports.

"We were led to believe that this was an absolute outcome (at the NCAA) and it was a definitive end to the equestrian program," says Chris Hatton, parent of an equestrian athlete. "The girls were really misled."

Hatton and other parents would like Kansas State to keep the sport, but the schools Athletics Department indicated Friday this isn't an option.

"We certainly hope that equestrian can be viable as an intercollegiate sport nationally," an emailed statement said, "but K-State remains committed to the path selected last fall."

The statement, sent by assistant athletics director Kenny Lannou on behalf of the department, refers to "the ongoing uncertainty of the sport's future."

A media contact for the NCAA said via email that an NCAA committee "did not recommend sponsoring legislation to remove women's equestrian from the list at this time."

Michelle Brutlag Hosick, associate director of media relations at the NCAA, said the sport "does not meet the minimum NCAA standards to become a championship sport," but that "committee members believe the issue of removal from the list should be decided as part of a review and broader conversation of student-athlete participation and opportunities."

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