New Mexico State University, along with the New Mexico State Athletic Department, announced July 13 that it would discontinue sponsorship of the equestrian team, effective with the 2016-2017 season.
The decision was made following recent cuts to the university’s budget due to declining state funding and enrollment. The athletics department will fully honor the scholarships of its current equestrian student-athletes for the remainder of their eligibility.
With the discontinuation of equestrian at New Mexico State, there are now 16 Division I equestrian programs around the country—a number that has declined in recent years. In the fall of 2014, the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics recommended that equestrian be dropped from the emerging sports list due to the limited growth and number of teams sponsoring equestrian. That decision was later changed, and CWA continues to monitor equestrian as an emerging sport.
“There is never a perfect time for a decision such as this, but in order to meet the necessary budget reductions, we find no other solution,” Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said. “We believe this creates the best opportunity to propel our program toward our goal of a world-class student-athlete experience. Our equestrian student-athletes and coaches have been dedicated Aggies and will forever be a part of the New Mexico State Athletics family.”
“I appreciate the careful way Mario and his staff have evaluated this transition,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “While this was an extremely difficult decision, we are proud of the accomplishments of our student-athletes on the equestrian team and of Head Coach Robin Morris-Walters’ leadership. The university will honor the remainder of her contract, which is currently in its final year.”
In 11 years, the Aggies have produced 10 All-Americans and won the United Equestrian Conference in 2016.