When you watched the OSU-Florida championship game Monday you saw a packed stadium of folks who paid big bucks for tickets, dozens of ads that made FOX millions, and plenty of promotional banners and signs around the stadium. Lots of people made lots of money--including the 2 schools. But not a penny to people who were on the field. The young athletes, we are told, received a commemorative watch and a satellite radio.
Personally, I think we need to recognize that at the major football schools, the programs are big money-makers, revenue-generators. They are part of the "business" side of the school. Why shouldn't the "employees" (players) who make it possible to raise the big bucks get a "taste". Perhaps, as Powerful Pierre today suggested, it could take the form of some sort of "seed" money for their pension or some sort of "trust fund".
I would only apply the pay-for-play opportunity to the major schools where the football program is actually big business. And I might even agree that it should only apply for special occassions (undefeated seasons, bowl games) because the athletes DO get a free education out of it.
But when big bucks are being made for the schools, networks, coaches, and others, the players should get more than a watch.