Update on Collegiate Equestrian

AQHA provides answers to the most common questions regarding the NCAA emerging sport of women’s equestrian.

American Quarter Horse Association

Learn more at www.aqha.com/ncea about the history of the NCAA emerging sport of women's equestrian.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Committee on Women’s Athletics’ recommendation this fall to remove equestrian as an emerging sport has received a great deal of attention in the equine industry. That attention was heightened when Kansas State University Athletics made the subsequent decision to discontinue sponsorship of its collegiate equestrian team effective at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season.

“The horse industry appreciates all the support given toward collegiate equestrian since the news came out about the CWA recommendation to remove equestrian as an NCAA emerging sport,” said Leman Wall, AQHA director of corporate partnerships. “There have been many inquiries from people inside and outside of the industry about what steps are being taken, when the recommendation will be reviewed or take affect and what can be done to help. This is a fluid environment where details are changing rapidly.

“It is important that correct information be circulated to avoid any damaging claims toward the very groups the horse industry is working to influence,” he explained.  

Here is the latest information as AQHA knows it:

What was the basis for the CWA recommendation?

  • According to NCAA policy an emerging sport has a 10-year window to achieve a minimum of 40 schools and therefore advance from emerging to full status
  • Equestrian did not meet the 40-school minimum within the 10-year window
  • The CWA was acting in accordance with this policy.

Is the CWA recommendation already officially approved and active?

  • The recommendation has not been formally adopted by NCAA.
  • Currently equestrian is still classified as an NCAA emerging sport and all existing programs are still in operation.
  • It was originally reported that the CWA recommendation would come up for review on a legislative council agenda October 20, then would proceed through various NCAA governance entities through October 29.
  • Equestrian was not discussed and the CWA recommendation was not voted upon during the October 20 meeting.
  • It is now believed that the CWA recommendation will be brought up for initial council review in January 2015.

What can you do to help support collegiate equestrian (and/or K-State)?

  • Be positive. Stay away from negative campaigns toward the NCAA, the CWA or K-State.
  • Continue to write letters of support to influencers (your alma mater, local university, athletic conference, etc.).
  • Attend equestrian meets, make donations to your favorite program and encourage others to become advocates.
  • If you know anyone of influence send their name and contact information to Rob Peterson at rpeterson1331@gmail.com.

Wall added, “The main question being asked is if there is a chance to reverse the CWA recommendation and possibly also save the K-State program. As of now, the CWA recommendation has not been officially adopted so there is always a chance. The reality is that this is a complicated situation that will require a strategic approach. The horse industry will work alongside collegiate equestrian officials to find the best game plan.”

Many people are working on this situation every day. The athletic conferences, administrators and coaches of National Collegiate Equestrian Association programs are working diligently to build the right case that will help encourage the NCAA to reverse the CWA recommendation.

“The AQHA, the National Reining Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association have offered support for collegiate equestrian opportunities,” Wall said. “It is nice to see the industry pulling together for a common cause. As more viable steps become available that you can take personal action on, we will make this information available to the industry.”

Learn more at www.aqha.com/ncea about the history of the NCAA emerging sport of women's equestrian.