Institutions of higher learning and big-time athletics live in awkward matrimony. In a logical world, college sports wouldn't rise above the intramural level.
As it turns out, people were concerned about the marriage before the sport got hit by a tidal wave of television contract money. As far back as 1930, some folks were concerned with the emphasis Ohio State placed on "the great publicity stunt" that is football, the long-term ramifications of a playing career, and the lack of publicity for chemists studying the effects of a diet heavy with sugar.
From the November 24th, 1930 issue of The Lantern, the official voice of Ohio State studentry:
Let's all agree to a vow of silence regarding Ohio State football causing America's obesity academic. This is weapons grade hot #take material. In the wrong hands it could set sports culture back to the 1830s.
It is notable, however, that as far back as 1930 people recognized what a publicity bullhorn the Buckeye grid machine could be for the university, which even the sport's detractors recognized:
Makes you think about where the sport will be in 2030, as it seems we're bound to have these discussions forever.