The players get a free ride to school with academic counseling available, and also get a stipend for travel and miscellaneous expenses. Michigan provides about $2,500 per semester and SEC schools provide about $5,000 per semester. (The rationale for SEC players getting that much more is questionable, but that is another subject). How many people would love to have that opportunity,which is worth at least $200,000?
If you think there is cheating going on now, just wait until players can get paid. Would boosters be able to pay players for their "images" and such? Could Nike pay more to players who go to Oregon? How do you police any of this? If players want to be paid, let them go straight to the NFL or have a minor league. There are a lot more than a few players that are not fit for school. Look at what studies these kids are taking and their graduation rate, it is a farce at many schools.