UCF Knights

UCF is wrong for shutting down kicker Donald De La Haye’s YouTube Channel

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

A very interesting story is coming out of the University of Central Florida that may end up having larger national implications soon. The school in a preemptive move has ordered kicker Donald De La Haye to shut down his YouTube page because he is profiting from the ad revenue.

De La Haye has created a very popular YouTube series, and he does use the UCF facilitates to shoot his videos, however he never uses the school’s logos or likeness. The school’s athletic compliance offer sent the kicker a notice saying to either shut his channel down or quit football.

UCF may feel they have no choice but to shut down the channel because they feel that this may place the school on some type of NCAA sanctions. The fact that school has this fear is yet another example where the NCAA is out of line with their current policies.

De La Haye had come up with an original concept, used a free video service to upload his videos and was able to get enough viewers to make money off the channel. Apparently the NCAA and UCF as well believe that De La Haye’s profile is heightened because he’s an athlete in major college football and thus he’s profiting off that profile. This argument would make sense, if we were talking about the starting QB or star RB, but this is the kicker.

This is just another example of major college athletics hiding behind the “sanctity” of their institution, when it’s really about owning the entire market of the enterprise. Debating whether college athletes should be paid has been and will continue to be a contentious issue. However the concept that college athletes can’t even profit off another project they are working seems egregious.

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon won his case along with several other former college athletes against the NCAA which had to do with the EA Sports video games that made money off the likeness of former and current athletes. All the NCAA did to counter was stop producing the game with EA Sports.

Jersey sales also don’t trickle down to the athletes. All avenues of revenue with regards to major college athletes evades the athletes and there are mechanisms in place to block any potential of revenue getting to the athletes.

Clearly there’s also a mechanism that won’t allow an active college athlete from benefiting at all from their likeness even if it isn’t directly associated with the team. Dylan Gonzales a women’s basketball player at UNLV had to give up playing hoops to pursue a music career. Joel Baumann a wrestler at Minnesota became ineligible after it was found out he sold a rap track on i-Tunes.

NCAA athletes are allowed to have jobs, but they have to be confirmed through the compliance office. There was a time where top college athletes would have boosters hire them for “no show” jobs, but they cracked down hard on that.

The concept of being able to self publish content and be able to monetize that content is newer territory for the NCAA. It questions the motives of the NCAA. Is this about protecting the integrity of “amateurism” or just a strong arm move meant to send a message to current athletes that they are basically the property of the institution they are attending.

De La Haye is a marketing major. His YouTube project actually is something that will help his career after he graduates UCF. Does the NCAA really care about the individual athletes? Or are they more concerned with owning all possible channels of revenue? It’s clear that the it’s all about the revenue and the NCAA and the participating institutions don’t care about the sanctity of amateurism. They just hide behind that to continue the obvious racket they are running.

UCF is wrong to give De La Haye the ultimatum. Instead they should be encouraging him, since he’s actually being successful in something outside of sports. Isn’t that even in the NCAA commercial? The hypocrisy is as transparent as it can be. It would be nice to see an institution take a stand against the NCAA and back their athletes, but no reasonable person will hold their breath for that.

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