I don't think that a college degree is necessarily beneficial for particular fields. I know plenty of folks who went to OSU, accumulated a lot of debt, majored in a non-specialized field, and then couldn't find a job when they graduated, and ended up working in various retail stores. Alongside them are plenty of folks who didn't go to college, and didn't incur debt, and hold the exact same job. So, where is the value in that degree?
I also work with folks in my industry who hold degrees from Ivy League and other private schools, and incurred 2-3x the debt that I did. We both have the same jobs, same career outlooks, and make the same amount of money. It just cos them twice as much to get there. It's hard for them to argue with me that their degree was worth the additional cost to them.
My point here is that value is relative in this instance, and not all degrees are created the same and hold the same value. In addition, not all students are mentally capable of attaining a more mentally advanced degree. So, where is the value to a kid who got a free education, but ended up in a field that didn't require one in the first place? He got a free education, but it holds no value because he wouldn't have gone to college if it weren't for sports in the first place. You can't assume all kids are mentally capable of taking the full advantage of an academic scholarship. They want to see the cash, and would probably get much more benefit out of that.
I'd be interested to see a study of graduates who were given an athletic scholarship in a revenue generating sport, and look at the spread and frequency of majors, and how much those students really benefited from getting a college degree. We can agree to disagree here, it really just depends on how much emphasis you put on a a college education, and how much you can cultivate a kids mind.