I'm glad you brought up American's favorite past-time...
Yes, yes, humor me, but you got my point, right? These workers are just as important as the players, as without the workers the game wouldn't be functional. It's that annoying little thing called socialism. We like to think some piece are more important than others, but all the pieces are needed to make the system work. Some are just easier to replace than others, but like you implied, that isn't the point...
All of the above are free to enter into employment contracts of their own free will.
You make it sound like the student athletes are not? There may be constraints put on them when it comes to sport scholarships, but honestly scholarships are given in exchange for a talent you have that the university wants, not because they have to accept you. I've said it before and I'll repeat it many more times in my life, no doubt, but nothing comes free.
If that student really wants to be a doctor, he'll have to go the hard way. Demanding the right to unionize will just give athletes privilege status over other students (arts and science majors).
So what do I think will happen?
I don't think students who participate in sports can look forward to cash payment anytime soon, but most likely an increase in rights and if they can form unions, no doubt they will. This will create a division though, between athletes and non-athletes, if not now then eventually. This will boil over into new conflicts, like a poorly used delay-card to drag out an inevitable defeat, perhaps?
Edit: Black and white was the decision to make student athletes of D1 colleges simply athletes. They are both or neither, not one or the other. You can't say a coin is only one side and not the other and when someone does you should always be weary of the agenda they're pushing. Stripping them of their student status and calling them athletes will result in other repercussions I imagine.
Edited 3/27/2014 16:12:23