The National Collegiate Athletic Association hasn’t yet revealed a final decision on the future of equestrian within the organization, but another college is dropping the sport in response to the uncertainty. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics sent a letter to the National College Equestrian Association stating they were voting to remove equestrian, currently classified as an emerging sport, during an October 20 meeting, but no decision was announced after that meeting.
“Two important meetings are scheduled in December to support the advancement of the sport,” stated a press release from the NCEA. “The first is a meeting of an NCAA Equestrian Caucus of coaches and proponents in Dallas, the initial week of December. The following week will be an Equestrian Summit of athletic directors, administrators and conference staff. These meetings act to promote and propel our exceptional equestrians by combining the backing of our member institutions, conferences and equine industry.
“It is important to circulate correct information about the status of women’s equestrian to avoid damaging claims as we work jointly to support the sport,” the release continued. “The CWA has recommended to remove equestrian from the emerging sports list. This act is in accordance with an NCAA policy, which establishes a 10-year timeline to achieve a minimum of 40 schools to advance from the emerging to full championship status. This recommendation, to this point, has not been adopted by the NCAA.”
The University of Tennessee at Martin announced Nov. 16 that the 2015-2016 season will be the last academic year of varsity competition for its Skyhawk equestrian team. The school is making the change due to NCAA uncertainty, and UT Martin officials haven’t yet announced which varsity women’s sport will take the place of equestrian. This is the second school dropping the sport; Kansas State elected to discontinue equestrian, also after the 2015-2016 season, as a result of the original NCAA letter.
“Our equestrian team has the very best student-athletes who represent UT Martin academically, athletically and socially,” UT Martin athletics director Julio Freire said. “They represent everything that is good and right within intercollegiate athletics. I’d like to thank the coaches and student-athletes who have made this program one of our finest here at UT Martin. A special thank you goes out to head coach Meghan Corvin, who started the program and kept it running smoothly. She is a wonderful mentor, and we would never have reached the heights we did without her leadership and guidance.”