Letter to the editor: One equestrian mother calls out K-State Athletic’s commitment to “family”

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Brynn Critcher, freshman Western rider, rides Dallas during her reining routine at the meet against New Mexico State at Timbercreek Stables on Sept. 25, 2014. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

My daughter, Alyssa, is a sophomore equestrian athlete at K-State from Chicago. Her road to K-State (i.e., the sacrifices) to get here was long. However, she made Manhattan her home and K-State her family.

Now, just 15 months in, Alyssa has been told by Athletic Director John Currie that her K-State “family” is essentially kicking her to the curb and leaving her with only a minimal “frozen” scholarship and little hope of transferring to another Division I school as she already has used 2 years of her NCAA eligibility.

All of our daughters chose K-State in good faith. They were promised a superior collegiate athletic experience with annually increasing financial scholarships and an excellent education. At the very minimum, the equestrian athletes’ scholarships should increase as per normal and not be “frozen.” In reality, the scholarships could increase as no new athletes will be replacing seniors, etc.

To take funds earmarked for equestrian by the NCAA and divert them to a different sport is disgraceful. The equestrian athletes have been blindsided by the very university they felt supported them and demonstrates a complete lack of integrity and transparency. Stomping on the little people happens in big business every day, but not from a university whose slogan is, “It’s all about family.”

Maybe a better slogan would be, “It’s all about money!”

The K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors, John Currie and President Schulz need to realize how they have crushed both the athletic and academic futures of the student athletes they recruited to ride for their university – and yet these athletes do not want to transfer. K-State is their home and “family.”

So step up and do right by our daughters. Prove to us that “family” really means something. It is very little to ask for considering how at no point in the recruiting process, knowing full well they held our daughters’ futures in their hands, was it ever disclosed this program was in jeopardy. K-State has the ability and resources to do the right thing by these young ladies.

When it comes to “family,” you never give up and you always find a way.

Valerie Lombardi

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