By Janine Kritschgau' 18, Staff Writer The Student Government Association (SGA) has undertaken an assessment of the Skidmore College Polo Club to determine the future of the relationship between the two. The heart of the matter is a concern about the rising costs of Polo Club, which as a SGA chartered club receives funds from the association. So far, the association has reviewed past finances of the club and future budget trajectories to inform a decision which will determine the future funding granted to the Club from the SGA’s annual budget of about $775,000 dollars.
The Polo Club used to be a Varsity Sport until it was stripped of its title in 1989. After the program turned into a club, its string of ponies was slightly downsized and moved to a stable 35 minutes away. Since then, the club has won national championships, and has relocated to just five minutes from campus. Currently, the Polo Club hosts 32 due-paying members and 14 horses.
The Polo team hopes to be granted additional funding. Last year, the Club received an estimated $25,000 annually from outside donors, in addition to the $50,000 dollars from SGA. According to the association, this year, “SGA expects to spend between $60,000 and $70,000 on the club…due to an unreasonably high fundraising expectation and the inevitability of unexpected…costs.”
Despite high costs, the Polo team notes that it is the least expensive riding program available to students at Skidmore, with dues at $670 (JV and Varsity) and $400 (Beginners) for a year of riding. Other options available are Physical Activity courses for credit at Van Lennep riding stable, at about $1,600 dollars per year. The Division III riding team members pay about $2,100 dollars a year to ride and show.
However, SGA has also voiced concerns relating to the health and management of the horses. The Club assured SGA that they are fully equipped to take care of their horses, and in an email highlighted the expertise of barn managers hired to care for horses, the fact that no “major incidents” have occurred in any one of the total 5000 polo practices held, and offered a letter of recommendation from the stable veterinarian. The Club hopes to assure the SGA of the club’s stability.
The Polo Club does not wish to comment extensively on the evaluation. However, Club President William Miller did note that the club is “patiently awaiting updates from SGA,” and feels “the matter is being handled professionally.”