Letter to the editor: Equestrian dream cut short

Henley Adkins, sophmore hunter seat, jumps Spot during her turn at equestrian over fences at the meet against New Mexico at Timbercreek Stables on Sept. 25, 2014. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

A little girl’s dream of riding a horse turns into a dream of competing on a collegiate equestrian team. Just like with any other athlete, the hours, weekends, years of practicing, no sense of normal childhood and financial resources can indeed make that dream a reality!

For K-State equestrian, the dream was CUT SHORT!

Both of my daughters ride for the K-State equestrian team. We fell in love with the school, town, people and community. We “drank the purple Kool-Aid” of the K-State Family.

With such a young team (2014 freshman recruits are nearly 50 percent of the team), the girls, coaches and staff have worked tirelessly to secure a record of 4-0 so far.

All that changed Oct. 13 at 9 p.m.!

Forty-nine student athletes and coaches were assembled in a room where they were told that, because the NCAA may drop women’s equestrian from the list of emerging sports (based upon the first of four recommendation meetings on Sept. 30), K-State is discontinuing equestrian after the 2015-16 season and replacing it with women’s soccer. Notification was swift and notice went out via email to parents at exactly 9:30 p.m. Nearly 50 percent of the team will only get to participate for two years.

Questions that come to mind:

1. When was idea of dropping equestrian brought to the table? When was the decision really made?

2. Why not wait for the NCAA’s decision (which appears to be what the other Division I and II universities are doing)?

3. Why not have both equestrian and soccer teams?

4. Did you consider quality of team athletes (Academic All-Big 12 team honors, winner of Wildcat Cup three previous years and most community service hours of all athlete teams)?

5. Why would K-State not honor the commitment that they made to these freshman recruits?

6. Is this how we treat “FAMILY?”

I now have a sick feeling in my stomach that K-State is truly just like other big corporate entities not looking out for the little guys! I see this as a “black mark” on their reputation and I can honestly say that I am surprised and disappointed.

Denise Kemper
Gilbert, Arizona