Very interesting (and sad) article.
ITF changed prize money distribution this year: for example, the winner of 10K Futures now gets $1,440 (was $1,300), while players who lose in R1 get $104 instead of $118 as it was before. So the players who were earning the least will now earn even less.
The whole ITF Procircuit is designed as a selection pool: if a player is good he will move to Challengers and ATPs where he could make decent amount of money; if a player is not-so-good he will eventually have to stop playing due to lack of funds, or he will struggle like Fitzpatrick. It's simply not possible for a player to spend an entire career playing Futures and earn enough money, Futures are not meant for that.
That would be a good place to start. I think the ITF should determine this, and base the system on that. So if they want, say, 500 players to be able to make a living out of it, that means challenger tournaments will need to get a big boost financially, and futures need a smaller one.
It all comes down to how much money those small tournaments can generate, which atm is not too much, barring a few really big challengers.
This. As much as I agree that the prize money for Futures and Challengers should be increased, I'm afraid it may result in decreasing number of tournaments.