No longer eligible: Former student-athletes work with teams


Elizabeth Hanson

Senior Michaela Jamison helps stretch out dance team captain senior Nia Madison during practice.

Story by Bailey Conklin, Sports Editor

Senior Michaela Jamison is like many other students at Baker University. After a full day of classes, she heads to practice. Dance is what originally brought Jamison to Baker, so it is no surprise it remains a big part of her college career. What is different about Jamison, however, is that she will not be joining her friends and classmates on the floor for their routines when competition season comes around. Jamison is a student assistant for the Baker dance team.

Jamison will be graduating in December from Baker, however graduating a semester late was not the original idea.

“I didn’t plan on staying an extra semester, this was all a surprise of course,” Jamison said. “I told Lynsey [Payne] about it and she asked if I still wanted be involved, but you only get four years of eligibility to compete and I’d used all four of mine, so this was kind of our way of still getting me involved.”

As a student assistant, Jamison helps the team with administrative work, organizing the college workshop held for incoming students, cleaning routines and hopes to help with choreography in the future. According to head coach Lynsey Payne, Jamison goes above and beyond when it comes to the amount of work she has put in.

“I’ve had a lot of students in the past who have done student-teaching or something like that and they might come back and do a few things, but as far as being there on a consistent basis [Michaela has helped the most].”

Jamison is not the only student on campus to continue helping out with her sport, even after her eligibility is up. Former Baker baseball catcher Marcus Jones also volunteers his time to help out the team.

Jones, like Jamison, is a senior who plans on graduating in December. For Jones, baseball was the “only thing” that brought him to Baker University. Jones was deciding between three different schools before ultimately choosing to pursue baseball at Baker. One of Jones’ greatest deciding factors came from his former baseball coach, Ryan Goodwin.

Goodwin was originally at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas when he first started recruiting Jones for baseball. After several months of talking back and forth, Goodwin made the choice to take a coaching job at Baker and Jones followed.

“He said he was getting the job here [Baker] and leaving Wiley and he said he wanted me to come with,” Jones said. “And so, I did.”

In Jones’ years on the Baker baseball team he not only enjoyed being a part of the team, but learned from Goodwin. Even before Jones ran out of eligibility, the opportunity to coach at Baker was already planted in the back of his mind.

After Jones’ first year of playing, Goodwin began to ask him what his post-college plans were. For Jones, one of those plans involved the idea of coaching baseball.

“I’ve always thought about being a coach and the fact that I would get to start off at the college level is not something that most people get to do,” Jones said.

Once Goodwin had found out Jones would be around for one more semester, he offered Jones the chance to come help out the team. While Goodwin wasn’t able to offer pay for his work, Jones was happy to accept the position in order to get coaching experience while still at Baker.

Since Jones was  a catcher during his time as a student-athelte at Baker, he continues to help out the team by coaching the new catchers on the team.

With both Jamison and Jones still students, some of the athletes they now coach used to be fellow team members.

“It’s awkward in a sense, because I don’t want to be a guy that’s high in authority and bossing kids around when I’m the same age as most of them,” Jones said. “I played with them last year and built that brotherhood with them, but at the same time I let them know I’m there to help them get better.”

Jamison likes the ability to see where the team was the last four years and where the team is headed now through choreography and talent. This year’s jump to 17 members, after having roughly 11 in previous years was one of Jamison’s most exciting moments this season. Jamison also enjoys stepping outside of the team after doing it for the past four years.

“It’s nice because I can kind of help out the captains or girls on the team because I’ve been where they are, but not in necessarily an authoritative role, more of an advisory role,” Jamison said.

With graduation fast approaching in December, Jamison and Jones are still unsure about their futures with Baker athletics.

The decision to stay at Baker for Jones relies on whether Goodwin is able to offer him a full-time position on the team. If the position doesn’t arise for Jones, he plans on returning home to Utah and becoming a barber.

Jamison also has hopes of returning to help the team after graduation. Similarly the opportunity to stay relies on whether coach Payne is able to offer her a position.

“I’m in a lease in Baldwin until right exactly through their competition season so if I’m still around I would love to still be (here) through competition season,” Jamison said. “That’s my favorite part, to compete in that environment and the performing, so I would love to stay around through that.”