In reply to: yes, in reading the article that seems to be the main idea posted by jt
when Nike has an athlete endorse their product, Nike pays the athlete directly.
The Olympic model would likely be the guiding example. In theory, this should absolve the schools from having to pay the athletes and the "compensation" that the school provides will be in the form of education/classes/room/board/etc.
... a corporate-sponsored minor league.
The Olympic model works for Olympic athletes because they are essentially individual competitors. There's no team score at professional track meets.
spectrum will things land. The overwhelming majority of players would not benefit from being able to make money off of their image. Those players should be unionizing and fighting for more rights, like guaranteed scholarships through graduation, some form of ongoing medical care for football-related injuries, etc.
At least from the post's in this thread it seems (I have not read the article).
I believe players are contractually obligated to license their name and image to a common entity (e.g. NFL Players Inc.), and then that common entity licenses the rights to Nike, Under Armour, etc. For non-merchandise, obviously the players can go out on their own. The NBA, with shoe contracts and what not, is probably different than the NFL.
Barry Bonds and Michael Jordan, for example, cut their own deals (big reason why Jordan wasn't on some popular games like NBA Jam and Bonds wasn't in Triple Play Baseball among others).
My general understanding is that on any given item that uses a specific player's image, that specific player gets a cut, but a cut also goes to the general pool for all players. Again, I'm not positive, but in the NFL, I think all teams split merchandising money (the licensing portion) equally regardless of how much an individual team sells. Generally speaking, the NFL is much more communist than other leagues. The NBA, NHL, and particularly MLB tend to be a bit more eat what you kill.