The NCAA would have you believe that football players are amateurs. In reality, they are professionals. Football is their job. The average player faces a one hour conditioning program in the morning, a two hour practice each weekday, and at least an hour of meetings and film study. Not to mention ten hours spent for each home game, and a whole weekend lost to each away game. All this, and they are expected to have a full time class schedule, and maintain certain GPA requirements.
That is where things go wrong. Here is how to fix it. Allow athletes to carry a reduced class load during the fall quarter to compensate for the time consumed by football, but require them to be full time the other quarters, and make up the shortfall, either through additional classes in winter and spring, or through summer courses. Also, a stipend to be paid by a fund established from the profits the NCAA gets from television and merchandising. each team carries about 80 players, 120 teams, and a $2,500 shortfall for each player. $24 million should cover it. Not too tall of an order given that the 4 year contract with Fox to show just the four BCS bowls is worth $80 million a year, and the 10 year contract with ABC to show the bulk of the games is worth $600 million.
These changes will ease the strain of being a college football player. It will also help keep them away from some of the ticky tack violations. A little spare change goes a long way for the NCAA.