It was late Monday night when my 18-year-old daughter, Taylor, called me from Manhattan. I couldn’t understand her through her tears. This was a call I would never want a parent to ever endure. I couldn’t hold her, comfort her or give her an answer.
At first I thought she had been hurt in a car accident. For my daughter, the pain was deeper than a physical wound. Her life had been turned upside down by a panel of individuals who valued neither her sport nor her teammates.
Taylor is a recruited NCAA athlete from Las Vegas, Nevada. Her goal was to attend a university that had a solid animal science and pre-vet program, and to ride for an NCAA team.
Equestrian is not a sport that you can throw a sports bag into your trunk after a game. I know firsthand what it takes to compete in this organization. Any child who chooses to compete in equestrian events benefits from lessons learned in any sport, but add the multiplier of caring for, cleaning up after, training and controlling a 1,400-pound animal on a daily basis and the lessons are tenfold. One cannot throw a horse in the closet after a competition and go out and eat with the team. There are just as many hours of post-event activities in caring for your teammate as there are pre-event activities. From the pre-dawn warmups, midnight practices and everything in between, the dedication and responsibilities do not end when the score is posted.
I would like to remind K-State that their equestrian team is ranked #2 nationally! The equestrian team only receives a few scholarships to be divided amongst the entire team, unlike the male sports that receive significant amounts of scholarships to pay their out-of-state (tuition). The GPAs and volunteer hours that the equestrian team girls put in far surpass that of their peers. Is K-State rewarding NCAA students with full scholarships for ticket sales? That’s how it appears.
We chose K-State because of the “family” motto. I have never felt so disgusted with a group of people who have never stepped foot out to support their team. My daughter is K-State … your family. Save the equestrian team … do what’s right.