I would never have given up college either, but for some there is really not the option to go to college. One of my best friends was drafted by KC and was a very hot prospect (lefty, 97 mph FB) until he stretched his ligaments to the degree that he lost his velocity. He took his $200K bonus (not much by many standards) and bought pine forest land near a paper mill in GA (and has a steady 20-30K / year side income from that for almost 12 years now) and used his college tuition to get a ChemE degree from Georgia Tech.
Agreed that many do not take advantage of the opportunity, but you can only take a horse to the water, you can't make him drink. Getting the opportunity for some that never would have had a chance is all that can be done, and the fact that some use this opportunity to give themselves a wonderful life is more than enought to justify it. For those that dont use this opportunity, well, that is their own fault.
I was almost drafted as a pitcher in HS, and would have loved and certainly taken advantage of this opportunity. I was not drafted and proceeded on my own, but if I had the opportunity my priority would have been taking advantage of it and hoping that things worked out one way or another. These kids need to realize they have the opportunity of a lifetime here, and it may be the "free" college, not the playing of a game, but there is nothing wrong with trying to do both.
(not intended as a rebuttal to Squire, as I suspect he agrees)