The NCAA has a history of snuffing out anything it deems “competition”
Chances are, if you know Donald De La Haye, you know him from his YouTube presence, rather than for his achievements on the football field. The University of Central Florida kicker launched his own YouTube channel last year that now boasts 50,000 subscribers and 2 million views. Now NCAA officials are accusing De La Haye of profiting from his status as a college football player—which is forbidden by the college sports governing body—for ads that appear on his YouTube channel.
As his most recent video reports, the NCAA has barred De La Haye from making any more videos for profit. The kicker admits that he is struggling with the ultimatum. “I feel like they’re making me pick between my passion and what I love to do,” he says.
He continues, “It’s really tough. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not making money illegally. I’m not selling dope. I’m not kidnapping people or robbing people. I’m not selling my autographs for money. I’m not sitting here getting Nike checks and Nike deals and all these sponsorships. I’m literally filming stuff. I’m sitting here, editing things on my computer for hours and developing my own brand. I put in the work, and I’m not allowed to get any benefits from the work.”
De La Haye mentioned on camera that some of the money he makes from videos (which reference his station as a college football player) is used to support his family.
In recent years, the NCAA has come under mounting criticism that their concerns with maintaining the “amateur” status of college players is more accurately a thinly veiled attempt to kill any competition for athletic revenue. Amid that sentiment, the NCAA is garnering little sympathy from fans and journalists who believe that an athlete’s outside pursuits are none of the organization’s business.
There’s no official word yet from Central Florida or the NCAA, but hopefully, the presiding bodies will review the decision as reported by De La Haye.