If you make a job (NBA) analogous to getting an education, then your argument holds water as it relates to fairness. In essence all NBA players share the revenue, and compensation is based on basketball abilities.
If the comparison is some students vs other students and what they should receive in help in getting an education, it isn’t fair at all based upon academic qualifications. In essence some students get assistance towards education based upon their basketball abilities vs. academic abilities. But somewhere in the societal system there is value in having “athletic” based scholarships for receiving an education. And it certainly helps create college degrees for many that wouldn’t have qualified based upon purely academic credentials.
Maybe the NFL should just franchise college football teams as a B league and the college players don’t need to attend college at all. Then the NFL and the revenue it receives can be responsible for all of the infrastructure, coaches and players salaries etc.
Personally I’ve always believed that what makes college sports special is that these are “students” and somehow part of the university community. Yes the players have always enjoyed some additional status on campus and off… and they do get an education paid for that many other students or their parents have to work, get loans etc. to obtain.
I get that a lot of people are making money off a group of kids who are getting a free education as compensation and that doesn’t seem fair. But I will argue that if college athletes received pay in a similar system to professional leagues, what makes college sports special would be lost…or maybe it would just be lost for me. It would be equivalent to watching minor league sports, which I and many don’t do. I’m probably wrong in this modern era, but I hope I’m not, because it’s headed that way.