ESPNU Campus Call: Student-athlete panel

ESPN.com has invited student-athletes from a number of the top schools and programs across the country to tell us what they think about the issues facing NCAA athletes.

Updated: January 6, 2007, 5:57 PM ET

AMATEUR STATUS
Each week, ESPN.com surveys the student-athletes on our panel to see how they feel about a topic that directly affects collegiate life.

Notre Dame football players Tom Zbikowski and Jeff Samardzija are among a few athletes making news for making money by competing in other sports. Zbikowski boxed in Madison Square Garden; Samardzija played baseball for a Cubs' minor league team -- yet both were eligible to play for Notre Dame's football team in the fall. We asked our panel whether it thought this was right -- and whether any changes needed to be made.

Should athletes be able to turn pro in one sport and retain their eligibility in others?

Murphy
Murphy
I think athletes should be allowed to pursue exceptional opportunities in another sport while not compromising their NCAA eligibility. These opportunities may facilitate what an athlete wants to pursue after their collegiate athletic careers are over. I feel that the NCAA rules and legislation serve to promote opportunities for athletes, and if a student-athlete has the talent to pursue a career in another sport, I think the NCAA should support that investment in the athlete's future."
-- Meghan Murphy, Notre Dame women's lacrosse

Schneider
Schneider
"No, I don't think that athletes should be allowed to do this. One of the reasons that NCAA athletics appeal to so many people is the purity involved -- people aren't competing for contracts, endorsements and other monetary incentives. They are simply playing to represent themselves and their school and to try to win a national championship. Although the Notre Dame athletes aren't being paid for football, they are still technically professional athletes, which violate NCAA rules. If one sport doesn't work out, they can always fall back on the other, which to me seems like they can't give all they have to just one sport."
-- Cory Schneider, Boston College men's ice hockey

Alexander
Alexander
"I think once a player decides to turn pro, that should put an end to their amateur status across all sports. Congratulations to them that they excel at two different sports, but that would become an unfair advantage for other players [who are] unable to get that professional experience while still in college."
-- Cori Alexander, Portland women's soccer

Leveille
Leveille
"Athletes in this category are clearly in a class of their own and their accomplishments should be affirmed. Their eligibility shouldn't be revoked just because they've succeeded in one sport -- it would prevent them from being able to help their other team be able to succeed."
-- Mike Leveille, Syracuse men's lacrosse

Henley
Henley
"I think athletes should be able to turn pro in one sport and retain their eligibility in others. It is basically like having another job, and I don't NCAA should be able to regulate how you make money."
-- Tyler Henley, Rice baseball

Matthews
Matthews
"I don't see why not. If the coach and the program will allow it, I can't see why they shouldn't allow the athlete to pursue his dreams. I think at the end of the day it comes down to the commitment the student athlete has made to the particular program."
-- Wesley Matthews, Marquette men's basketball

Tidwell
Tidwell
"In a nutshell, yes. Obviously one of the main priorities of college athletes is their education. So long as their pro career does not adversely affect their academic career, they should not be held back from such a great opportunity."
--Tyler Tidwell, Navy football

Hazewinkel
Hazewinkel
"Why not? If the athlete is good enough to turn pro in one sport and still has a passion for the other sport, who are we to tell them they can't play that sport anymore? I know the NCAA has reasons for their rules, but telling someone they can't play because they are good at two sports should not be one of the rules."
-- Sam Hazewinkel, Oklahoma wrestling

PAST QUESTIONS
How big an issue are steroids?
Portland "In women's soccer, I have not heard of it as an issue whatsoever. As far as throughout college sports in general, I do think it is of great concern. I look at football and baseball players and I sympathize with them. They are trying to make it to the professional ranks. How are they supposed to get there if they do not do what the professionals are already doing? I think the NFL and MLB need to do a better job of keeping performance-enhancing drugs out of their leagues. Children idolize these athletes and I am hearing stories of middle schoolers experimenting with these dangerous drugs, and it just breaks my heart."
-- Cori Alexander, Portland women's soccer

See what the rest of the panel had to say.

Do you want to play more games? Fewer?
Rice "I think the length of the college baseball season is a good length, I wouldn't shorten or extend it. But what I wouldn't mind seeing is schools having more appropriate schedules to work around their academics -- which I think Rice does a great job of. I am referring to Rice's rule regarding play during finals week. Rice does not allow there to be any scheduled games or practices during our finals week in order to allow us to properly prepare for our tests and finish all of our class work. This is an example of how Rice shows its commitment to having true student/athletes as opposed to athlete/students. I have benefited a lot academically because of this rule."
-- Tyler Henley, Rice baseball

See what the rest of the panel had to say.

Should student-athletes get paid?
SMU "I believe that giving scholarships is enough for student-athletes. However, I don't feel there are enough scholarships available. If every player on my soccer team had some sort of scholarship, then I would feel they were being compensated fairly. The amount of time that athletes put into their sport and the amount of money that universities profit is substantial. So when I see people on my team and other teams within SMU that have to pay a lot of money to participate, I think it is sad. But I don't think it would be a good idea to give an athlete money, because an 18- to 22-year-old with a lot of cash, in a college environment, is asking for trouble."
-- Chase Wileman, SMU men's soccer

See what the rest of the panel had to say.

Should coaches be able to text message recruits?
Syracuse "I don't think coaches should be able to text message recruits at all. Text messaging is a very informal and unproductive way of communicating and I don't see how either side would benefit from communicating that way. I never received any text messages from coaches, and honestly, I'm glad that I didn't. Making phone calls and writing e-mails are much more effective forms of communication during the recruiting process."
-- Mike Leveille, Syracuse men's lacrosse

See what the rest of the panel had to say.

How are you preparing for life out of college?
Cal "I'm looking forward to life after college. Currently I'm applying for a job with an organization called Teach For America. They place new teachers in inner-city schools for a two-year commitment period. I've always had a passion for teaching, and I think this would be a great challenge and a lot of fun. Their goal of bringing up the general education levels of the schools is something I'm incredibly interested in, and I would love to help in any capacity. If that doesn't work out, I'll be looking at graduate schools and student teaching jobs with the hope of ultimately becoming a high school teacher."
-- Scott Smith, Cal football

Check out the rest of the panel's response.