It's often argued that the idea that college football players are really college students, rather than professional athletes, is a farce. I'm fairly certain this is true.
In my first year in college, I lived in the same dorm where most of the football players lived. They lived lives almost entirely separate from other students. They had many explicit privileges, and staff were ordered to give them special treatment. (I worked part-time as part of the dorm cafeteria staff.) None of us ever saw them in our classes on campus; given that they were taller and more massive than any other students, it would have been impossible to miss them. When they interacted with other college students, they were arrogant, boasted of their elite status and special privileges, and often used physical threats. In general, most of us were afraid of them.
By contrast, I had friends who were athletes, but not football players; they didn't have any special privileges, lived with the rest of us, took the same classes, and were in all respects normal college students who spent a lot of time training for a college sport.