My idea is this...students go to college to learn information and skills for a future career in some industry right? So how are these industries any different from the professional sports industry that the student athlete is preparing for...? It's not. The NCAA could solve a lot of problems if they simply created degree programs in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey...maybe some others. The point is that these are multi-billion dollar industries and to not offer a degree program to the students that are most likely to end up in these industries is not only an oversight...it's irresponsible.
Think about it, for the random Steve Young that wants to be a lawyer and a HOF QB all in one can still go for it. But for anyone who really likes the sport and will most likely be a professional player, coach, TV analyst, agent, or anything else related to the sport's industry, just let them get a degree in it for Christ's sake. The athlete's could then get credit for being an athlete, take a couple other classes on personal finances, PR, history of the sport, etc...but still have time to have a part time job because they don't have to go sleep thru Environmental Biology 911 or Sociology 227.
Everyone wins under this scenario...the NCAA gets to still claim 'amateurs'. The players who are destined to go pro actually get some useful education out of college so they don't get screwed out of their new-found riches. The players who don't go pro have a good foundation, understand the business aspect of the game, and can use their degree to become assistant pro coaches, HS or college coaches, or even league/player's union staff.
I know the argument against this idea would be that so few people actually make it pro and wouldn't have anything to fall back on. To that I leave you with two points:
1) Isn't the perception that a student athlete at major programs don't really attend class anyway? Who is lining up to offer them jobsnow that would be less likely to do so if they had a degree in athletics?
2) Does my business degree guarantee I'll be successful in business? No. And neither does a degree in medicine, law, teaching, or anything else. You have to actually be good at whatever industry you want a career in...the degree is just the minimum requirement.
Anyway...get UConn excited about this idea and be the pioneers to implement it. Many, many colleges will fall in line once they see the benefits and the first schools to set up their programs this way will be able to recruit the kids most likely to go pro until everyone else catches up.