by Jenae Alderson
Founded in 1854, Hamline University is the first college to arrive in the state of Minnesota. It is a private liberal arts college with an undergraduate class of about 2,200 students. The college is best known for its social justice, service, and experiential learning. When it comes to sports, it is considered DIII by the NCAA and is home to some of the best and most disciplined student-athletes. One of those athletes is Harrison Jones who is both a wide-receiver on the football team and a 400-meter sprinter for the track a field team. He was the captain for the 2019 football season. Aside from his athletic career, he is apart of the class of 2019 and will be graduating with a major in Business Analytics. He definitely is one of the best on both teams and absolutely has to be disciplined when he finds himself off the track or field.
Being a full-time athlete in a single sport during college is one thing but being a full-time athlete in two sports is just plain mad, or is it? However, Jones wanted to have his cake and eat it too. Harrison Jones – Hamline University student-athlete – chose to attend the college he meticulously thought about despite his various DI offers. But, why turn down DI offers to play two sports at a DIII level? Why even think about putting the human body and mind through such a strenuous task? Well, Jones lets the people know about his journey and mindset throughout his college career as a multi-sport collegiate athlete.
Turning down DI offers was easy for Jones when it came to football. He knew that he did not want to go to the NFL, nor did he think he could make it. However, he wanted to play and start in the sport he loved all four years of his college career and make a difference for the University. “There’s just something about football that takes immense focus both physically and mentally. The reward of winning a game is outstanding,” Jones said longingly; football was obviously a must when it came to the college he chose. Jones also wanted to be near the Twin Cities in Minnesota, somewhere he called home for twenty-one years now. With all these guidelines set, Hamline was looking like the right fit for Jones.
When it came to track and field, however, Jones just wanted a college where he could run. Consider it his second love below football. Why settle for one sport when there are two that could be played? At least that was the thought process of Jones. He was not necessarily looking for a college solely to run track, but it was something he was good at and could still do if he chose to attend Hamline. It was good to have options for Jones, as he liked to feel like he had a handle on his own life. So, after realizing he would have options at Hamline, it was a done deal after that. However, how can one feel they have a handle on things with two collegiate sports hanging over their head along with a social life and schoolwork lurking around the corner?
Sports. As much as sports could derail the life of any student, for Jones, it helped him get his life back on track. “It’s honestly pretty hard, but sports actually help me keep my life together. I know that if I don’t perform in the classroom, then I won’t be able to play,” says Jones as he explains how being a multi-sport athlete does not hinder his success but helps him in more ways than expected. Jones even touches on how it helps him learn time management as well, “I have less time to mess around outside of school with practices, meetings, lifts, etc. so I know when it’s time to get my work done.” But, this seems like a lot of hard work for “little recognition,” why not just try to play Division I Football?
“People assume that because you play DIII that the competition is so much worse when in reality it isn’t,” Jones expresses his findings after his hunt for colleges during the recruitment process. He found out about the myths behind college athletics when it came to the many divisions put in place by the NCAA. After debunking these myths, Jones decided he would not let the preconceived notions of others to make his decisions for him. “The MIAC is arguably the top DIII conference of all DIII sports… it gives me a great opportunity to compete at a high level while focusing a lot on school. There are Multiple DI athletes that play DIII…” Jones tells the secret behind his casual yet organized approach to choosing a single. Divisions do not matter, the player does.
Is this really the secret? Well, when asked if Jones would change his recruitment process he confidently answers, “I wouldn’t change anything… It allowed me to decide which school would be the best fit for me and I’m content with the way it turned out and the people I have met along the way.” The ultimate goal of choosing a school is to pick one that is the “best fit.” Jones has stayed at Hamline and never questioned leaving for all four years he has attended. He is about to graduate on time with many friends and even more accomplishments. Two sports at a DIII level was Harrison Jones best college fit. What will be the best fit for you?