Double major, try being a double athlete


NIU’s Jamison Wells is pulling double duty for both NIU football and baseball.

By Andrew Singer

Tuesday was pretty hectic for Jamison Wells.

The sophomore was at Huskie Stadium from 7:15-9:30 a.m. participating in the NIU football team’s first spring practice. It was the practice-squad wide receiver’s first chance to work on the field with new head coach Dave Doeren.

Following a full day of classes, Wells raced to the NIU hit center where he got his work in with the NIU baseball team.

Wells didn’t plan on playing both sports coming out of high school. It wasn’t until the fall of his freshman year that his interest in football was rekindled.

“It was tough because [playing both sports] was never really an option,” Wells said. “I never really talked about it with my high school baseball coach, or football coach. I didn’t think about it until I got here and saw the [football team] playing.”

NIU baseball head coach Ed Mathey and then-football head coach Jerry Kill talked about Wells playing both sports in 2009. Since neither had any problems with it, Wells filed the proper paperwork with the NCAA, allowing him to play both sports.

In 2010, Wells dressed for all of the football team’s home games and even traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich. for the Huskies’ game against Western Michigan.

As a practice-squad player on the football team, Wells has to work for every snap he gets. During the spring, though, Wells is a key contributor to the NIU baseball team. The sophomore is NIU’s starting center fielder, and is currently hitting .292 in the leadoff spot.

Mathey moved Wells from shortstop to center field with the sophomore’s availability in mind.

“We brought Jamison in as a shortstop, but it takes repetition and a lot of practice to stay sharp at that position,” Mathey said. “When he decided to play football, we decided to move him to center field, because there he can use his speed.”

Mathey still had his doubts whether or not Wells could find his rhythm after missing all of the teams’ offseason practices.

“The biggest thing was we didn’t know which Jamison was going to show up this season,” Mathey said. “The guy that started out last year and really struggled or the guy that the last third of the year started to gain confidence and hit the ball. I think he has answered that question.”

Friends and family don’t understand why Wells can’t just pick baseball or football, considering the amount of time that both demand. Wells, however, doesn’t understand how anybody could suggest such a thing.

“I can’t just pick one because I love playing both,” Wells said. “I can’t look back one day and wish I would have played the other sport if I just concentrated on one.”