Definition of a Presbyterian College Student-Athlete
Nothing epitomizes the term “student-athlete” quite like Presbyterian College senior business major Jordan Ashley.
As an athlete, she is a catcher for a Division I softball team that plays just over 50 games a season, not including the postseason tournaments. As a student, she is the Yearbook editor, a member of Tri Sigma, a member of the Student Athlete Advisory committee (SAAC) on campus (where she is president), as well as on the conference and national level.
“I give credit to my coach for putting me up for the role as a freshman, a role that has had incredible impact on my life,” said Jordan.
For Jordan, serving as president of the SAAC at Presbyterian College is extremely rewarding. One of the reasons she enjoys the role is because she gets to listen to other athletes’ needs and thoughts which allows her to be the voice for student athletes.
Adding to her already demanding schedule, Jordan became a national SAAC member in the summer of 2014, after becoming the Vice President of the Big South conference SAAC. She attended her first National SAAC meeting that summer and was elected to serve on the Administration Cabinet to become the only student-athlete representative in the cabinet.
“I was honored to be a part of this integral decision-making body. When this position was described to me I knew that is where my passion would lie. I was nominated and gave a speech in front of the National SAAC and was voted on by my peers, which was a great honor for me.”
Jordan attended the more recent National SAAC conference in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month. At this conference Jordan was doing more than representing Presbyterian College she was representing the entire Big South Conference, a tremendous honor for her.
A National SAAC member now in her second year, she admits to being overwhelmed at first but seemed to have a better grasp of it during her most recent trip. A who’s who of collegiate athletics administrators were in attendance ranging from conference presidents to athletic directors.
At the conference Jordan had the opportunity to speak with NCAA President Mark Emmert about diversity among collegiate sports, particularly with administrators’ roles and emphasizing increasing roles for women in athletic administration.
A highlight for Jordan was the opportunity to meet former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the keynote luncheon.
“I want to be an athletics director, and I know that in all three divisions of the NCAA, only 20 percent are female, and in Division I, only 10 percent,” Ashley said. “Rice is just a really empowering female, and she says a lot about following your passion, even if people are telling you that you can’t do it. She’s an inspiration to me.”
Not one to shy away from an opportunity, Jordan found herself in the front row for a photo with Rice and told her, “I worked really hard to get here.” The former secretary of state laughed with her and said: “You succeeded.”
As proud as she is to represent Presbyterian College, Jordan knew she was representing much more; she was representing the Big South and all of its student-athletes, making decisions with their best interests at heart.
Being a National SAAC member has become a life changing opportunity for Jordan. “It has been an eye opening opportunity that has had a tremendous influence on my life.”
Jordan looks to build upon this experience and one day hopes to become an athletic director. Watch out Brian Reese, maybe we’ll see her as the Athletic Director at her alma mater one day!
Be sure to look for Jordan on the diamond this season as the Blue Hose look to return to the Big South Championship.
When asked about how the team has looked so far this season Jordan said, “We are looking very good. Although we lost some key players to graduation we have a great incoming class. Everyone is excited to contribute to the team wants to work as hard as they can.”
From the grin on her face it looks like a promising year for the Blue Hose softball team. For that, she’ll make the time.