SODO Apparel, a men’s sportwear brand out of Seattle, is planning to become the first apparel company to pay college athletes.
“It’s a new day for NCAA athletes,” founder Mark Nelson stated. “We have discovered a viable way to compensate those athletes being exploited the most by the NCAA, its partners, and the universities.” SODO’s plan will initially compensate college football players across the nation after their eligibility has expired, with proceeds coming from a fund SODO is establishing. “We expect to cut the first checks at the conclusion of the football season,” said Nelson.
SODO’s plan appears to be to launch a fund to pay former college football players with an initial donation and then add money to the fund by donating a portion of the sale of the companies baseball caps.
SODO’s plan is allowed by NCAA rules since no money will be paid to athletes with remaining eligibility. Their name, image or likeness does not appear on SODO merchandise. SODO is also presumably not a booster of an NCAA school; that would limit its ability to pay former college athletes.