After trying to fight for his right to vlog behind closed doors, UCF kicker Donald De La Haye took his clash with the NCAA public in June, blasting the governing body of college athletics for threatening to revoke his eligibility if he continued to create and post sports videos to his personal YouTube page. Today, the NCAA made good on its promise.
De La Haye has been ruled ineligible for the upcoming college football season, according to the NCAA. De La Haye had an opportunity to make a deal with the NCAA that would limit his creative output, but he declined it. De La Haye did not respond to our request for comment, instead tweeting that he’s “mind blown” and passing along the following message:
The NCAA released a lengthy statement Monday afternoon, confirming its ruling and explaining the dumb-ass reasoning behind the decision.
Although Donald De La Haye has chosen not to compete any longer as a UCF student-athlete, he could have continued playing football for the university and earn money from non-athletic YouTube videos, based on a waiver the NCAA granted July 14.
De La Haye decided he did not want to separate his athletically-related videos from non-athletic ones he could monetize, which was outlined in the waiver for him to maintain eligibility.
Contrary to misperceptions, making a YouTube video — and even making money off of it — is not a violation of an NCAA rule. Further, years ago the membership gave NCAA staff the ability to review situations like these on a case-by-case basis, consistent with previous actions.
After the national office received the waiver request from UCF July 12, that process was used to confirm that De La Haye could continue to profit from any of his video activity as long as it was not based on his athletics reputation, prestige or ability.
The issue at hand for the NCAA revolves around the fact that De La Haye was using his status as the kicker on the Golden Knights football team as a way to boost his vlogging career—they wanted him to stick with making videos like “GIRLFRIEND CHEATS WITH HIS BESTFRIEND (PRANK) HE ALMOST STABBED US!!!” rather than sports-related entries like “FLYING OUT & TRAINING WITH THE NFL’S BEST!”
But for De La Haye, limiting his material—and for a Division I college athlete, sports are a massive part of his life—in order to appease an organization that actively works against athletes attempting to earn what they’re worth, both on and off the field, was never an option. In his June video decrying the NCAA’s attempt to play executive producer, De La Haye said he felt as though the group was unnecessarily “making me pick between my passion and what I love to do,” pointing to the fact that his revenue stream was completely legal. So, rather than let the NCAA dictate the content he creates for his side gig, De La Haye was smart enough to realize that making money based on your talents is actually a good thing and refused to halt production of any of his videos, posting sports videos as recently as yesterday.
While defending vlogging is not how I thought I’d spend my day, De La Haye’s right to vlog and profit off said vlogging, just like his creative license, deserve to remain free from the NCAA’s clutches; that he made the decision for himself rather than take the bum deal makes him the only cool vlogger.