INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Southern Vermont College men’s soccer alum Taylor Baker ‘17 (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) was recently afforded an opportunity to visit the national offices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Indianapolis as he was selected to participate in the organization’s 2017 Career in Sports Forum.
Baker was one of more than 230 current and former student-athletes with an interest in working in the sports industry who were invited to attend the eighth-annual event. He was just one of two members of the New England Collegiate Conference (Jaiwon Martin, Regis College) to be picked from the pool of applicants.
“Being selected for the Forum was a great honor and represented the hard work Taylor put in over his four years at SVC,” said SVC Assistant Director of Athletics Ashley Hodges. “It was a great opportunity to help him decide what career path he wants to take in athletics. He was such an asset to our department in game day management, and the Forum was good for him to be exposed to the other opportunities out there in college athletics.”
The Forum provided attendees a broader idea of career opportunities within the sports field with the primary focus being on college athletics. Baker, who graduated from SVC in May with his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Sports, Recreation, & Tourism Management, looks to garner a career in sports after interning in the Southern Vermont Athletics Department as an event operations manager.
“My expectations going into the event were to get a better understanding of the roles in intercollegiate athletics and learn more about how the NCAA works at the national level,” said Baker. “The event completely exceeded my expectations. It was more informative than I thought it was going to be. The speakers were great; they were all very inspiring and did a great job of having us interact with them.”
Among the various keynote speakers and panelists that the Forum’s participants heard from were Stevie Baker-Watson, associate vice president and director of athletics at DePauw University; Jason Burton, head women’s basketball coach at the Texas A&M University-Commerce; Clyde Doughty Jr., director of athletics at Bowie State University; Oliver Luck, NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs; Felicia Martin, vice president of the NCAA Eligibility Center; and Craig McPhail, director of athletics at Lees-McRae College.
“One of the key takeaways I got from this event was personal and professional branding,” Baker continued. “Marlon Dechausay—associate director of athletics at the University of Illinois—gave us great insight on how we should be branding ourselves through social media and how everything we do will be associated with us forever. We, as a society, like brands that are reliable and consistent, so Mr. Dechausay told us that we should all try to bring that consistency and reliability to our lives and market ourselves that way.”
The participants also learned best practices for gaining employment and gathering a better understanding of what future expectations will be once they get a job in sports. Those in attendance were among a pool of applicants who were viewed as leaders on their campus. The selection committee was comprised of administrators and coaches within the NCAA—many being former Forum participants themselves.
Visit http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/leadership-development/career-sports-forum to learn more about the Career in Sports Forum.
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