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

Florida Football Insiders



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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