Spring Update on NCEA Activities
Media and communication, new initiatives, program development and equine-industry networking are current focuses of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association.
By Dr. Leah Holland Fiorentino, NCEA executive director | June 9, 2015
In an effort to maintain the flow of accurate and timely information about National Collegiate Equestrian Association activities, I am providing an update following the annual spring meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, with direct information about our progress.
The annual meetings include all coaches and administrative staff from all NCEA programs. At this meeting we formalized the Board of Directors and Executive Committee structures that were drafted in December to better align with our bylaws and are designed to move the NCEA forward in a more efficient manner. The Board of Directors will focus primarily on sport governance and the Executive Committee will focus on the business side of the sport including expansion of collegiate opportunities and increasing membership. This division of responsibilities provides for a balanced approach to oversight of all NCEA activities.
New officers were elected to leadership positions within the NCEA: Meghan Boenig, University of Georgia (president); Haley Schoolfield, TCU (president-elect); Meghan Cunningham, University of Tennessee at Martin (past president); Greg Williams, (vice president – finance); Boo Major, University of South Carolina (vice president – sport advancement); and Carol Gwin, SMU (vice president – sport advancement). In addition, we are excited about the increased involvement of our sport administrators on NCEA committees; their contributions are invaluable as we continue to work toward expanding the number of collegiate equestrian programs across the nation.
Of great interest to NCEA friends and supports is the involvement of the NCEA National Advisory Board, who met in concert with the coaches and staff during the Fort Worth meetings. The NAB is committed to making equestrian the first non-revenue generating sport to be financially independent. Although only in place for two months, this group has already launched several positive initiatives and has organized plans for fund-raising and friend-raising efforts that will begin immediately. It is a very impressive group with unlimited energy … and interesting network connections. I spent the bulk of those two days with the NAB while in Fort Worth and we are all excited about the early results of their plans. The NAB has established five committees to focus on the specific NAB efforts: media and communication, new initiatives, equine-athlete support, current program support and new program development, and equine-industry networking. These committees are already working to support our current NCEA programs, as well as increase awareness of the benefits of collegiate riding programs at other campuses throughout the United States.
We are still waiting for the NCAA to respond to the fall recommendation from the Committee on Women’s Athletics. The NCAA has created several new committee structures to adjust to the overall NCAA reorganization announced in January 2015. The new committee that will review the recommendation is the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee and the members of that committee were announced several weeks ago. We are optimistic that with the support of caring organizations, professionals, coaches, administrators and the smart people connected to the NCAA – that there will be a positive resolution to the recommendation. We look forward to working with the NCAA to expand the sport to other campuses as soon as the recommendation has been resolved.
Our NCEA participant schools have tremendous energy and are committed to a positive expansion of equestrian programs. We appreciate all you are doing to support collegiate riding programs and we are thankful for your contributions to maintain these opportunities for current (and future) female athletes.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to working with the National Advisory Board on their ambitious goals!