Paying Division I athletes is common sense. I would argue that there should be payments made to players in the form of monthly stipends and it should be broken down to allow a student-athlete more quality of life while attending school and playing sports. A kid can take out a student loan and spend the money any way that they want; why not just award them a compensation stipend for sports activities and let them have a little walking around money while in school?
The NCAA has set it at the absurdly low rate of $2,000, and I think it should be around six to ten thousand dollars instead. And then I would make the players sign a contract that says that if you take one dollar from someone else, if you sign with an agent or sign for a leased car that you know isn't coming from a reputable source, you're done. And you have to pay back your compensation stipend.
This will not solve every problem, but it will make things easier for a lot of kids who want to play sports and stay in school. Think of it as a stimulus package for a bad economy.