How should schools handle cutting sports teams?

ESPN.com asks: When a school decides to cut a sport, should there be guidelines the school must follow? Our panel answers.

Updated: May 2, 2007, 10:33 AM ET

CAMPUS CALL: CUTTING TEAMS
Each week, ESPN.com surveys the student-athletes on our panel to see how they feel about a topic that directly affects collegiate life.

How should schools handle cutting sports teams?

Wileman
Wileman
"This is a huge problem and can be very devastating to people affected. I remember when SMU dropped the men's track program a while back and no one on the team saw it coming. They didn't know what to do or where to go. There has to be at least some prior notification so that it gives time to athletes to sort out their future."
-- Chase Wileman, SMU men's soccer


Henley
Henley
"I think there should definitely be guidelines. There are only a couple of guidelines I could think of for cutting a sport. The first would be to give ample reason to the affected athletes and public for cutting the sport. This solves a couple of problems. One, it makes sure that administration does not cut sports for unnecessary or unethical reasons. Two, it informs everyone involved with the university of problems, such as financial or ethical, allowing them to be addressed. The second guideline would be to give as much of a heads-up to the affected athletes so they can transfer and make appropriate arrangements for their next season."
-- Tyler Henley, Rice baseball


Murphy
Murphy
"I do think the school should try and give the athletes as early a notice as possible along with a thorough explanation. The school should also go to whatever measures necessary to preserve an athlete's year of eligibility, as well as assisting and encouraging transfers if the athlete wants to continue in competition. Perhaps schools within the same area could work together to offer opportunities for athletes to play for another local school while remaining in the academic environment they prefer."
-- Meghan Murphy, Notre Dame women's lacrosse


Smith
Smith
"I don't have much experience with sports being cut at my university, but if my sport were going to be eliminated, I would want to know at least a year ahead of time. This would allow me to attempt to raise awareness and support so that my sport may be saved, and failing that, I would have time to look at options like transferring to a different university. There should never be a situation where a sport is canceled out of the blue and none of the athletes or staff are given adequate warning."
-- Scott Smith, Cal football


Hazewinkel
Hazewinkel
"Yes, there should be [guidelines] and a sport should never be cut. Unless the students are not going out for the sport, it simply means there is a lack of leadership to go out and get what needs to be done accomplished. It is usually the easy way out, cutting a sport."
-- Sam Hazewinkel, Oklahoma wrestling


Anosike
Anosike
"If a school decides to cut a sport the athletes should be informed as soon as the idea is being considered. In addition, when the cut occurs all active members should be able to continue with their studies until they complete their degree."
-- Nicky Anosike, Tennessee women's basketball

PAST QUESTIONS
Should athletes have a say in rules changes?
Notre Dame "I think it would be optimal to have a student-athlete voice in the discussion of rules changes. If the changes would be implemented at the collegiate level, I feel it is critical to have the input of those student-athletes. These athletes would be able to offer valuable perspective on the various effects of different rules changes as well as contributing to the discussion of what they think needs to be revised in the rules."
-- Meghan Murphy, Notre Dame women's lacrosse

Check out the rest of the panel's answers.

Should college athletes get more time off?
Cal "Wow, this is a double-edged sword if I've ever encountered one. My first answer is yes, of course we should get more time off. We train year-round and only get selected holidays to be with family -- possibly not even then depending on how far home is from your university. However, collegiate sports are completely voluntary. Yes, I was on full scholarship and yes, if I would have left the team I would have had to pay my own way through college, but that's the nature of life. Many times you have to sacrifice to get what you want, so I sacrificed time with family and friends in order to get an invaluable college education and compete at a championship level in one of the most competitive countries in the world. You can't train half the time and expect to compete well at the collegiate level. Sacrifice is just part of the game."
-- Scott Smith, Cal football

See what the rest of the panel had to say.

Should coaches' contracts include academic incentives?
Navy "Academic incentives for coaches, while they would not be a bad idea, would ultimately prove to be more symbolic than effective. At a highly competitive collegiate level, a coach's main concern is to be successful on the field of play. If they aren't, they will be looking for a new job. Academic motivation should be sparked by professors and must ultimately come from within the student. I think colleges should certainly make sure that athletics do not interfere with academics, but expecting coaches to do much more than make sure their athletes are staying eligible and attending classes may be a little foolhardy."
-- Tyler Tidwell, Navy football

Check out the rest of the panel's answers.

Should athletes be able to take endorsement money from a noncollegiate sport and retain eligibility in another?
Oklahoma "Absolutely. Why not? It is not mandatory for a kid on an academic scholarship to only study -- he is allowed to work and it is a good thing if he can get paid doing work he wants to do when he is done with college."
-- Sam Hazewinkel, Oklahoma wrestling

See what the rest of the panel had to say.