What a potential land mine this is. If football players are "employees" who just happen to be students, then away goes their NONTAXABLE scholarships. "Students" receive scholarships based on ACADEMIC performance. Not many football players will qualify there. So their tuition will need to be paid by "earnings" which should be taxable.
Say tuition is $40,000 over 8 months of classes. Paying players $6,000+/month (to cover taxes and tuition) will cause other college "employees" to demand the same - college swim team, field hockey, and so on. And also real employees of the college who aren't paid a higher amount will seek more compensation.
Do the football players really think that a college will give them a $40,000 FREE education AND pay them wages - which the college would probably be required then to do for all athletes? Since this will take years through the courts the current players will not be affected. The victims will come later.
If the courts hold that players are employees then look for colleges to either halt all scholarships for athletes OR reduce sports to MENS football and basketball and WOMENS basketball and gymnastics. Which will harm many athletes in receiving a college education.
As a person who worked his way through college, these players seem awfully ungrateful for the FREE RIDE they have had. Time spent "practicing" is far less than the hours spent working a job to pay one's education.
By the way, I am not an attorney nor IRS agent so the above is strictly a personal view of the situation.