The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Head coach Schaeffer let go after investigation

Orsini: Equestrian held to same standard as other sports

SMU head coach Ashley Schaeffer was terminated Monday, and the university is in a “top to bottom evaluation of the program” according to Athletics Director Steve Orsini.

The decision came after a university investigation into several allegations of personal misconduct made against the coach by players and parents. The players met with Orsini on April 22 and “brought some things to my attention,” said Orsini in an interview Thursday.

Orsini met with the team again on Monday and announced that Schaeffer would no longer be with the team, according to junior Kathryn Garvie.

Allegations aired against Schaeffer in the players’ meeting and in a letter written by two parents, which was provided to the Daily Campus, could not be confirmed at press time. Schaeffer could not be reached on her cell phone Thursday and declined to comment on the issue last week.

“We hold that sport to the same standard as others,” Orsini said Thursday. “It’s never a good time for anything like that to happen, but the end of the season was the best time.”

The team wrapped up its season April 17 with a loss to Oklahoma State University in the first round of the Equestrian National Championships in Waco.

In the letter written by the parents, grievances included “concerns over the safety of the athletes and horses resulting from inappropriate decisions by the coach” and “frequent failure to be at scheduled practices to instruct athletes due to personal issues.”

The letter was sent to 10 parents of team members.

Parents and players also voiced concerns that the horses provided by Park Lane Equestrian Center, the Mustangs’ home facility, were not safe to ride.

Many Division-I programs provide donated horses, instead of rented horses. Rented horses, which may be available one day and gone the next, fail to offer a rider the familiarity of a donated horse that can be ridden by the same rider on a consistent schedule.

The university has a policy against accepting donations of horses, according to Orsini. However, “the situation could be improved upon,” he said.

Orsini said that he visited Park Lane Equestrian Center early in the week and spoke with veterinarians.

Garvie said Thursday that Orsini has an “open-door” policy with the team and that he’s working with the players to improve the program.

Assistant coach Chelsea Chapman is still with the team, according to Garvie.

“We respect her so much,” said Garvie. “She goes to every workout, practice and lifts weights with the team.”

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