It isn’t the final outcome. However, former UCF kicker Donald De la Haye and his lawyers got a large victory in their First Amendment lawsuit against UCF, when the judge denied the school’s motion to dismiss in a ruling released Tuesday.
Siding with De la Haye, who had his scholarship revoked last August when he refused to stop accepting Youtube money for his UCF football related content, Senior District Judge Anne Conway ruled that De la Haye can proceed with his claim against the school.
UCF's motion to dismiss Donald De La Haye YouTube lawsuit denied https://t.co/yESr0ZbQYG
— Shannon Green (@IamShannonGreen) July 10, 2018
Conway heard arguments 29 days ago in Orlando, including UCF trying to get the lawsuit stopped on the grounds that it’s not a First Amendment issue.
One of De la Haye’s lawyers, John Riches commented to the Sentinel after the ruling,
“We hope that today’s decision denying UCF’s attempt to dismiss this case will be a step toward protecting Donald’s rights and ensuring all college student-athletes’ free speech rights are protected.”
As we wrote at the time of the arguments, De la Haye is not seeking monetary damages at this time. Rather, he wants his scholarship re-instated and to kick for the Knights this season. He was unable to afford walking on to the team last year.
As Green reported Tuesday, UCF had not commented on losing this significant phase and whether they intend to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.
The judge did grant the school’s dismissal of the claim that De la Haye’s 14th Amendment “Due Process” rights had been violated. De la Haye had been given able warning about taking down the Youtube channel, if he would not stop posting video content that included UCF footabll related activities for his own financial gain.
The school also spent time negotiating options with the NCAA that included him being allowed to stay on scholarship and keep the channel, as long as the school football related content stopped. They obviously successfully argued their opposition to the due process claim to the court.
Most importantly, this is not final victory for De la Haye, he will either have to get a settlement from the school to get re-instated or win a judgement on the merits of his case from the court later.
The problem is, with fall practice beginning later this month, the clock is ticking on him winning outright and settlement is likely De la Haye’s best hope.
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