This high number of views has given De La Haye the ability to monetise his channel, generating revenue through advertisers, and according to a statement released by UCF on Monday, that monetisation made him ineligible to play collegiate football in the eyes of the NCAA.
In the end, De La Haye refused to meet the school and the NCAA, thus choosing his YouTube channel and losing his full scholarship.
Donald De La Haye's decision to side with his heart might have cost him a career in football, but it also makes him a point of emphasis in the age-old conversation between the players and NCAA, a money-making sports machine directly benefitting from the hard work of college athletes. A spokesperson for the NCAA made sure to note Monday that he wasn't ruled ineligible by the sanctioning body itself, but rather by UCF. "UCF athletics wishes him the best in his future endeavors", the school said in its statement.
UCF kicker Donald De La Haye has a YouTube channel. As an NCAA student-athlete, that is a no-no.
One of De La Haye's recent videos addresses his situation.More news: Study Shows We Have A 5% Chance of Dodging Global Warming
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"I really did nothing wrong", De La Haye said in the video. They also wanted him to give up some of the profits from the page as part of the NCAA's rules prohibiting players from cashing in on their images. "But I just didn't think it was fair what they wanted me to do so I didn't do it".
Despite the facts of the case leading to UCF being the ultimate arbiter of ineligibility, Rubio had backup on Twitter from former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who tweeted that the NCAA has "been out of control for a long time ... congressional oversight/engagement needed".
That video was watched more than 178,000 times. The channel has more than 90,000 subscribers.
Clearly De La Haye understood what was at stake and chose YouTube over football. Because if you don't see the absurdity of the NCAA banning players from selling autographs, trading memorabilia or doing local auto commercials, maybe you can see the absurdity of the NCAA banning a player from making a few bucks off his YouTube channel. Some creators do this frequently for videos that discuss sensitive topics like suicide or other issues that the creator doesn't feel right profiting from-but De La Haye's argument is that he shouldn't have to do that at all.
He added: "They wanted me to give my money up that I made, which is insane".