Paying college athletes is an insane thought. I don't care how much money they make for the school, the money making athletes are going to college for free. Many are getting around 200-250k worth in tuition. Then let's tack on books, apparel, housing, transportation, food, etc. All for free. The only thing the majority of these kids have to pay for is their Chipotle lunch on sunday when they get bored of the dining hall, which they can afford because literally every other thing mentioned is free. The starving football player argument is inaccurate, meals are provided, it's a choice not to eat at that point.
It is one thing to do all that, which I have no problem with, I actually encourage. In college athletes becoming free agents, schools would literally be paying kids to go to college. That is an insane thought. The showcase platform to the pros is already provided, now they would be getting paid to showcase their talents and a degree. What happens when star RB stops going to class, how does that effect his signing bonus? Or when the 7'0 center can't pass intro to english composition? What happens when the junior QB gets drafted and is out of the league in a year. Can he go back to school? Does he get his paycheck? Does the QB get as much as the kicker? What happens when a paid player becomes a non starter, gets injured, quits?
As far as this goes, they'll be booted out of the NCAA. No school with the money to give players will opt out of the NCAA knowing they get the fat march madness and CFB money. This is a classic case of feelings getting involved in a logical argument. "Pay athletes" , "No, they already get XYZ", "But they deserve it!". As good as some athletes are they need the NCAA more than the NCAA needs them. People don't realize that. Duke didn't need Zion, but Zion could've went to Australia and played pro. He would've been popular, but not shoe deal popular. He would be in no immediate position for endorsements, etc. What he needed was airtime and constant top notch competition which he got. These guys can go elsewhere, but they don't want to because they know that with the platform the NCAA gives them they will be in a much better position afterwards.
I have no issue with players making money off their own name or school. If Baker Mayfield wants to sell his jersey he should be able to purchase it off the school for $200 or whatever they go for and sell it for however much he wants. Zion should be able to sign autographs on weekends. Kyler Murray should be able to accept a hamburger from a fan who sees him at McDonalds. Players should be able to make money off youtube, instagram, etc. But it gets tricky when star player is supposed to be in history class but is really at the mall doing a signing. That is where the change needs to lie, not in making 17 year olds millionaires. The NCAA has it's problems and I will stand in the crowd and chant all day, but "signing bonuses" are not one of them.