Former UCF kicker Donald De La Haye has a YouTube channel. That’s the root of the reason he’s a former UCF kicker and not a current one, though it goes deeper than that.
Before the 2017 season, UCF ruled De La Haye ineligible, citing NCAA rules. His violation, in UCF’s eyes, was that he was using his status as a student-athlete to make money off his own name, by way of monetized videos on his YouTube channel. (In the NCAA, athletes can’t use their status as athletes to make money, per the rules.)
De La Haye is now suing UCF, according to WFTV.
The Florida TV station reports that De La Haye’s lawsuit, filed Jan. 25, claims a free speech violation by UCF in rescinding his scholarship.
De La Haye has produced and starred in dozens of his own videos, some of which have garnered more than a million views. Here’s one of his most popular:
That De La Haye’s account is “monetized” is a YouTube term, which means he makes advertising money when people watch them. Oddly, that became a problem.
The NCAA’s problem, UCF said upon ruling him ineligible, wasn’t with De La Haye making money off YouTube videos in general. The school got an NCAA waiver that said the kicker “could maintain his eligibility and continue to monetize videos that did not reference his status as a student-athlete or depict his football skill or ability.”
De La Haye decided not to accept those conditions. The school ruled him ineligible, and he was off the team at UCF before the Knights’ 13-0 season.
The NCAA’s statement at the time emphasized that this isn’t about monetizing YouTube videos in the first place — just about monetizing sports-related ones.
NCAA statement regarding Donald De La Haye. pic.twitter.com/0W2YCbEBrF— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) July 31, 2017
But De La Haye says now that UCF’s problems went deeper:
UCF officials told De La Haye he could not show videos of him throwing a football on the beach with his girlfriend if other videos on the same page were making money.
He was offered a chance to regain eligibility if he took down certain videos and donated his YouTube money to charity, but he didn’t agree, UCF officials said.
That’s a different story than the statements from UCF and the NCAA. They indicated De La Haye could keep making money off videos that didn’t draw on his status as a UCF football player. The report of his lawsuit says otherwise.
The kicker’s response back then:
De La Haye, who was a rising junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., had worked as a kickoff specialist for the Knights for the previous two seasons.
College football still has its purity, or something.