The Fresno State equestrian team has announced a major shift in direction. Having competed in its final season with the United Equestrian Conference this year, athletic director Terry Tumey announced in a news release on Thursday that the program will shift to the Big 12 Conference as an affiliate member.
Rumor of the transfer to the Big 12 was first reported by The
Collegian in February, when Tumey was quoted as saying, “We have expressed an
interest to the Big 12 Conference office for our equestrian program to become
an affiliate member of the Big 12 and we anticipate a resolution on the topic
later this spring.”
That initial interest turned into a reality as Fresno State’s membership will be effective immediately for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year. The addition of the Bulldogs to the league returns the Big 12 Conference Equestrian Championships to a playoff format in which each of the four teams will compete in semifinal matches for a chance to compete in a championship draw for the Big 12 title.
After spending the last five seasons with the UEC, the Bulldogs will enter the Big 12 as the fourth member of the conference and will compete against league foes Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU.
2018-19 season was a successful one for the Bulldogs. They reached the first rounds of the
individual event championships as part of the 2019 National
Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championships. Ultimately falling to
Auburn in the reigning competition and to University of South Carolina in the
flat, horsemanship and fences competitions.
“Aligning ourselves with some of the best equestrian teams in the nation further advances our mission to provide a championship experience for all of our student-athletes and, in this case specifically, the dedicated young women who comprise our program,” said Tumey.
Big 12 senior associate commissioner of championships Dayna Scherf also commented on the move, expressing the impact of adding Fresno State to the Big 12 and what the program brings to the table.
“We are pleased to add Fresno State as an equestrian affiliate member,” Scherf said. “The Bulldogs bring a historically successful program that will enhance Big 12 competition. We look forward to welcoming the Bulldogs’ coaches, student-athletes and fans to the league.”
Fresno State equestrian head coach Eric Hubbard realizes the impact of the move and has already
set his sights on the program’s future within the Big 12.
“This transition will empower us to be a better team, to continually improve and to rise to the level of competition we will see more of in the regular season,” said Hubbard. “We have always had a strong relationship with the Big 12 teams, and we look forward to taking on the challenge to compete against them throughout the regular season as well as at the Big 12 Championships.”
The original Big 12 expansion story can be found here.