The alternative is if you want to do anything with you're life that isn't blue collar (which there's nothing wrong with that either. Practically all the men in my family are blue collar. Mechanics, brick layers, HVAC etc...) then make these kids earn a four year degree to play pro sports. Any pro sport. Doctors and Lawyers can't just skip college. But Ricker nailed it, the NCAA would never go for it.
Scholarships for academic achievement instead of sports prowess. It would drive the parents to raise their kids better which is really a problem in society today. You wanna play pro ball, earn your diploma, earn your degree. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I think HBO or someone did a special on Frederick Douglass high school years ago. In a freshman class of 300-400, about 15 parents showed up to the parent/student orientation. How sad is that?
I say "earn", but really whats to keep teachers and coaches from pencil whipping their grades like they are now. Unless they start cracking down on the teachers. Which maybe it'll make them push their students more to succeed. Who knows?
Is it such a bad thing to make your kids wanna do good in school so when the 99.9% of them that don't go pro, they have a chance at being successful as an adult? Would it be such a bad thing if Bryce Harper or Lebron James went to college first?
Probably getting off topic. Bottom line, it's all about $$. If you can hit, throw, catch, dribble, shoot, who cares if you can read. Can you make my college/franchise more $$? It's the sad truth and tit's not going to change in our lifetime.
When I was a Senior in high school, there was an awards ceremony. I got recognition for having over 260 community service hours (I got a certificate or something), the most common award/form of recognition. Anyways, the principal made some off-the-cuff remark about how he was disappointed with the lack of parents in attendance that night. His point was that there should be parent participation and not only when kids get in trouble or there is an issue with a teacher.
To answer your question, I don't think from an academic or social standpoint it be bad if LeBron or Bryce (who spent a year in JUCO) went to college. From an athletic standpoint, particularly in LeBron's case, those types could be overqualified. How would going to college have helped LeBron from a professional standpoint, since college is after all to prepare you for the "real world?" Doesn't it make a bigger mockery of the system when someone like LeBron goes to college with no intention of getting a degree?
Bryce's father actually said in a book about his son, he wouldn't recommend Bryce's path (getting his GED, JUCO, enter the MLB Draft early) to anyone. He empathized everyone sees the success that Bryce has had, but they don't see his struggles through the process. I've noticed that Bryce seems to be a slow starter at every level, but he's found his way through every time.
Agreed with your last point. College sports has become too big for it's own good. But like you said it's unlikely to change.