"Pull the wrong Jenga piece and college athletics comes tumbling down, replaced by professional minor leagues unaffiliated with universities."
I think you've hit the nail on the head Robert. If they are paid, they are professionals . . . Period. This will be the death of college athletics, and not just the revenue sports. And the culprits? The NBA and the NFL, who have chosen to prevent 18 year olds from moving into the professional ranks and relied on college athletics to provide them a constant stream of talent without having to incur the costs of setting up semi-pro or development leagues.
Your statement regarding football and basketball providing the funding for all of the other sports also portends the end of all college athletics. This is the discussion that is left out of most media articles because it doesn't fit their narrative. The NCAA and the Universities are not making profits of millions/billions as most articles state, they are redistributing that wealth to support the almost 500,000 collegiate athletes that are not playing the two revenue sports. (FYI, about 73,000 athletes play college football at all levels, and almost 35,000 play men's and women's basketball at all levels - source: https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics).