There are roughly 21,250 Division 1 scholarship players in both FCS and FBS.
At $20,000 per player per year that comes to around $425 million per year. $30,000/yr would be $637 million. $40,000, $850 million.
So who pays this? How about the NFL?
Face it, the Division 1 football schools are farm and development teams for the pros. True, the players get free tuition, but living expenses are minimal. And the physical risks to the players are real for all of them. Yet only 2% percent make the draft.
So the NFL gets a huge pool of talent trained and available at no cost to them.
Last year the NFL distributed $8.1 billion to the owners. The payout above would be a small percentage of that amount. Maybe 14% at the $40k level.
I think it is about time for schools to tell the pros that free rides are over with. You want us to train your stars, then pay up. Then at least the players not drafted can start out with a decent nest egg for the risks they took.