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Former UCF Kicker De La Haye has his day in Federal Court

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was an interesting 2017 off season story, as former UCF kicker Donald De La Haye was forced by the NCAA and the school to either stop promoting and using his football status and video on his Youtube page for financial gain or be ruled ineligible.

As we wrote a year ago, De La Haye’s very popular channel on the video site was earning revenue through Youtube’s monetary service, and the Knights athletic department following NCAA instruction told him he had to stop showing video of him doing anything associated with UCF football for monetary gain.

Ultimately, De La Haye decided not to take the channel down, and was ruled ineligible in late July. Thus, it cut off the key money making aspect of the channel.

As you probably know by now, the Knights went on to an unbeaten season, AAC conference championship win, and Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. A magical season for sure.

Kicker Matthew Wright made 13 of 18 field goals and 80 for 81 extra points in the 13-0 campaign.

As for De La Haye, we haven’t heard the last about this. No, not by a long shot.

On Monday, he was in U.S. Federal Court in Orlando as UCF was attempting to dismiss his case, in large part, because they contend that De La Haye was no longer a student at the school

As the Orlando Sentinel reported this past weekend, mediation talks broke down, but De La Haye’s lawyer remains confident of the former placekicker’s chances to ultimately prevail and get damages by moving forward:

De La Haye’s attorney, Jon Riches, told the Orlando Sentinel Friday that he’s confident the judge will rule in their favor to continue.

“We’re hopeful that the court will not allow the university to dismiss the case,” Riches said. “We have a very plain first amendment violation and we’re confident the court will see that.”

On why De La Haye is suing UCF and not the NCAA, Riches further told the Sentinel:

“The school is the state actor. They’re the government actor that has to comply with the Constitution,” Riches said. “And it seems to me to be a very unsatisfactory answer to say that even though we are the government and must comply with the Constitution, we have to do something because a private third party tells us to do it. Under no circumstances do the rules of a private organization override the U.S. Constitution.”

UCF and it’s attorneys would not comment on the status of De La Haye’s case.

Orlando Sentinel reporter Shannon Green was in the Federal courtroom Monday and relayed the back and forth here.

A very interesting part of the proceedings from Monday is De La Haye’s attorneys making it clear to the judge that he is not seeking financial damages, at least not yet, but rather simply wants his scholarship re-instated. This is because he cannot afford to walk-on at UCF.

The school contended to the judge Monday morning that they negotiated a compromise on his behalf with the NCAA, where he could have stayed on scholarship by donating his money from the Youtube channel to charity or by not posting anything football related any longer.

And, that De La Haye declined both of those options.

We will wait to see with Judge Anne Conway rules on this initial important step of dismissing the case.

She could rule, as soon as Tuesday.

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UCF Knights

First arrest made in burglary of Scott Frost’s Nebraska home

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Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

We have a development in the burglary of former UCF-now Nebraska head coach Scott Frost’s Lincoln home.

This as, authorities there announced Thursday that have taken a 17 year old female into custody for having possession of one of Frost’s Oregon Air Jordan shoes.

The Lincoln-Star Journal had the story first this morning:

Late last month, while Frost’s house was being renovated, and his family was not living there, thieves apparently accessed the house through an unlocked garage.

They allegedly took numerous championship rings of Frost’s from his Nebraska playing days and his Oregon and UCF coaching stints. The rings included a UCF “National Champions” ring that has caused controversy. Although apparently most, if not all, of the rings were found in the garage of the home a short time after the burglary was reported.

Still missing, now, are items like football helmets, autographed pictures, the high end Nike shoes, and other memorabilia.

Authorities would not specify, yet, what led them specifically to the 17 year old. However, a source told the paper that online postings about having memorabilia led to many tips and furthered the investigation.

Lincoln police also stressed they believe there could be several more arrests in the case.

And, they and Frost still believe that the merchandise and memorabilia missing is worth an estimated $50,000.

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UCF Knights

Former UCF star Shaquem Griffin getting noticed in Seahawks camp

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Even though it’s all the way across the country and in the Pacific Northwest, the feel-good story of former UCF star and now Seattle Seahawks rookie Shaquem Griffin continues to gain momentum.

Griffin, who was the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year last year and helped the UCF Knights go 13-0 and upset Auburn in the Peach Bowl for a perfect season, had already become very easy to root for in the pre-draft process.

This, after the NFL initially did not invite him to their scouting combine, but then reversed course, when public sentiment when his way. Griffin, despite losing his left hand as a small child,  wowed everyone at the combine in Indianapolis and became an inspiration.

In a story with USA Today on Wednesday, Nate Davis spent some time recently at Seahawks training camp and and they are raving about Griffin’s work ethic and play:

Probably the biggest compliment so far is from former Superbowl champion player and current Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Norton told Davis:

“He’s playing surprisingly really good,” Norton Jr. told USA TODAY Sports, clarifying his surprise is a nod to how quickly Griffin has grasped his new assignments.

“I mean, this kid is fast, he’s really smart, he’s really physical, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice, and he shows up every day. He’s for real. We understand that he’s missing a hand — and everybody focuses on that note — but he’s a real football player.

“He’s a joy to coach.”

Of course, it also helps the Seahawks drafted his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, to play defensive back a year ago. There’s no question it’s helped him get acclimated.

Seattle opens their preseason on Thursday night hosting Indianapolis.

And, make no mistake. Shaquem Griffin has got potential to help the Seahawks in spots and on special teams, and probably soon this season.

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UCF Knights

Former UCF, now Nebraska coach Scott Frost’s home robbed

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it usually takes a couple of losses, for “the honeymoon” to be over for a new coach returning to his alma mater.

Unfortunately, for new Nebraska and former UCF head coach Scott Frost, a rude reality check happened this weekend involving a burglary of his Lincoln, Nebraska, home.

Riley Johnson, a writer with the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska, broke the story on social media Monday morning:

The burglary occurred while Frost is not living in home as it’s being renovated and there was “come and go” access by the workers.

And as Johnson reports, the memorabilia includes not only his Nebraska championship rings, as a player, but two of the infamous UCF “National Champions” rings, as well.

You remember those Rings don’t you? As UCF has proclaimed themselves champions all off season, as college football’s only undefeated team in Division One a year ago.

Frost led the Knights to the 13-0 season, the AAC Championship Game win and the upset of Auburn in the Peach Bowl. However, he was not really fond of AD Danny White and the marketing push to call themselves “National Champions.”

Frost initially told USA Today this past Spring, that had he stayed in Orlando, he would have had a problem with the whole “National Champions” marketing push, while still trying to recruit/coach.

Frost back peddled a couple of days later in an interview with Orlando Sportsradio station 97.9 FM, “The Game,”

“I’m so proud of that team and  will be forever… and happy for those guys and I don’t want anything that I said in an answer to have the appearance of diminishing from what they accomplished and how grateful we are to be a part of it… I don’t want anything I say to take away from those unbelievable kids and what that unbelievable team accomplished last year.”

It’s not relevant anymore for Frost, because he took the Nebraska job last December and is now back at his alma mater, where he quarterbacked the Huskers in the late 90s.

Still, it’s a bummer that thieves would rob one of their heroes, who’s returning to try to restore Nebraska to some kind of national relevancy.

And knowing how football-crazy that area and state is, the criminals who stole Frost’s jewelry will have a hard time showing it anywhere and not getting caught.

Stay tuned.

And Monday night, there was already an update that some of the items that had been alleged to have been taken from Frost’s home had shown back up:

Interestingly, Frost discovered a bag with most of the rings, the shoes and the gaming console in his garage.

According to the story:

Lincoln Police Capt. Todd Kocian said Monday night that Frost found all of his championship rings, the gaming console and one Central Florida football helmet.

Still missing were the shoes, five other football helmets and photographs.

The story goes on to say that the thieves attempted to rob a gun safe in the home too, and actually ripped the keypad off of it, but were unsuccessful.

The story will obviously continue.

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