By Justin Bannister
For the Bulletin
New Mexico State University, along with the New Mexico State Athletics Department, announced today that the equestrian team will be allowed to compete in the 2016-2017 season. This will, however, be the final season for the team to be funded by the university.
“Our students are incredibly important to us,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “As the university continues to be under enormous pressure to cut our budget by $12.1 million, we have spoken with our stakeholders repeatedly over the course of this process. However, we should have given more notice to our equestrian team. This final season will give them an opportunity to compete and to seek other opportunities if they choose. I have shared this decision with the chair of our Board of Regents and she concurs.”
Earlier this week, NMSU announced it would immediately discontinue sponsorship of the equestrian team. The team will now be allowed to compete in its final season being funded by the university. NMSU will still fully honor the scholarships of its current equestrian student-athletes for the remainder of their eligibility.
The decision to discontinue funding of the program was made after careful consideration following recent cuts to the university’s budget due to declining state funding and declining enrollment. Other cuts include eliminating vacant and filled positions around the university, eliminating the on-campus employee health center and beginning the process to eliminate the engineering surveying program.
“The Athletics Department needs to cut its budget, much like the rest of the university, but we will be able to accommodate this final year of the program,” Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said.
Supporters of the NMSU equestrian program are seeking private funding to make the program self-sustaining. NMSU supports this approach as advocates for the program work to fund the program at a competitive level.