i agree, something has to be done. fd when you say "how about womans hoops or water polo", i would expect this change to be sweeping - if someone wants to put the water polo star on T shirts, and pay them for it, more power to them.
to me what is really difficult is universities and their boosters paying athletes just to come. i really don't like that part of it, i don't want it to be minor leagues and have schools get in bidding wars for top players. that could really **** up the college basketball i know and love. the problem is, when you start to have shades of gray - and i think this is why the NCAA takes the black and white approach - its SO HARD to oversee. what if some local booster wants to pay the kid 40 bucks an hour to run the register. its clearly not reasonable pay for the service being provided - but then again, having a famous UK player serving customers could definitely bring folks in. to me the difficulty is trying to make a set of rules that is enforceable. going the black and white approach of everything goes, i think most agree, could ruin the sport - but its sure hard to find that middle ground.
maybe you could set a limit on hourly rate for players during the season, something normal for people without a degree, and then only allow players to be paid for doing advertisements and endorsements. its still tough, the rich UK fan who owns the dealership might think that 10K is a fair price for a service but pay 50K anyway...
alternatively you could not allow ANYTHING except a living stipend, that could vary by player say up to 30K/year, which isn't a huge amount from a budgeting standpoint, but it does make a big difference to the kids who come from very poor families and want to send some money home. minimally, allowing them to cover the 10K or so you have to pay on top of a full scholarship, just in basic living expenses, seems very easy to justify, to me. you could also only allow schools to pay say a total of 150K per year across all players - so the 30K doesn't become automatic to everyone from the big schools, as a way of luring them away from smaller schools who would struggle to pay the 390K/year with a full roster.
i don't know, i don't like the status quo, but it does seem very difficult to create a set of rules that is enforceable.