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ESPNU Campus Call: Student-athlete panel

1/6/2007

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