For division 1 college athletics, why not offer players free tuition for a four year degree redeemable at any time up until the player is 40 years old or so? The idea that the player must get a degree while playing should be challenged, as most players barely focus on academics, if at all. So end the charade and simply let players play, and if they wind up going pro and don’t want to ever get a degree, fine. Or they can get a degree after retiring from the pros if they wish. Similarly, if the player does not go pro after four years playing on a college team, then he/she can start work on a degree. Or the player can just take classes during the off season, either in college or in the pros, if they want.

My idea here is to more closely follow the military model where you do four years in the military and once that time is complete, you’ve earned a substantial fund toward college tuition. But the military does not ask you to study and take classes while you’re deployed, it knows that trying to be a full-time soldier and a full-time student is impossible. Thus let’s acknowledge that being a full-time division 1 athlete and a full-time student is impossible too (at least to the point where the student part is severely compromised) and let’s have the players do athletics and academics sequentially, not simultaneously.

Plus, isn’t a bit underhanded and unfair to award someone a scholarship and then not allow them the time to put in the proper effort of studying and learning to make the most of it?

Also, free tuition isn’t a perk, it’s a necessity as most of the players the colleges seek to draft simply cannot afford college. It would be pure exploitation to ask them to play division 1 ball and make all the required academic sacrifices to stay in the athletic program and on the team AND THEN hit them with $100K in student loan debt .

(And then pay them a salary while playing too.)

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