Have you gone to grad school for a Masters or have you gone through a PhD program? Those two are vastly different. A Masters degree is trivial compared to getting a PhD, both in terms of the amount as well as the technical difficulty of the work.
Case in point: today is Friday night and I'm posting from the lab. On most days (including weekends), I don't leave the lab before midnight. The last few days I left the lab around 2AM. I spent most of spring break in the lab too, and also worked during winter break (although I worked from home in Michigan, having went to visit my parents).
Don't worry, it's not all work though. Since today is Friday I'll probably leave the lab and go home "early" today.
I'm not too sure what you were trying to say though. Were you saying that being a student-athlete is harder than being a PhD student? Doesn't that imply that they deserve even more money than PhD students then?
Again, here's the summarized question in case you missed it: How do we distinguish between Div 1 basketball and football players from PhD students, in light of the fact that they both produce more value than what they receive?