Donald De La Haye intends to carry on.
Last week, the UCF kicker said he met with his school’s compliance office concerning potential NCAA issues related to his popular YouTube channel. De La Haye receives revenue from advertisements on his videos (his channel has more than 3 million views and 65,000+ subscribers), which could potentially jeopardize his eligibility.
However, in a video titled “Choosing Between College Football or YouTube” released Sunday night, he said he plans to keep making videos — and profiting from them — until the NCAA tells him otherwise.
“I’m going to upload regularly to this channel. I’m not stopping that. I’m not demonetizing. I refuse to. So it’s out of my hands now,” De La Haye said. “The decision is in the NCAA’s hands, whether they want to suspend me or whether they want to let me do me.”
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As detailed in a video posted last week, De La Haye met with UCF’s compliance office and was informed that he may be violating NCAA rules. Though ESPN.com and the Orlando Sentinel have reported that De La Haye was not given an “ultimatum” to stop posting videos, De La Haye clearly was not thrilled with the way things went.
“I guess I can’t make any videos that make it obvious that I’m a student-athlete, because that makes it seem like I’m using my likeness and my image to make money and all this, which I’m really not,” De La Haye said.
Later, after his meeting with compliance, De La Haye continued:
“Basically, I’m not allowed to make any money off my YouTube videos. I’m working hard, basically like a job, filming, editing, coming up with ideas, doing things of that sort. And I’m not allowed to make any money. If I do, bad things happen. I feel like they’re making me pick between my passion and what I love to do — make videos, entertain, be creative and my other passion, playing football. I’ve really got some decisions to make and not a lot of time to make those decisions.”
It seems like the main sticking point with De La Haye’s videos is that many of them show a behind the scenes look at the life of a college football player. An NCAA bylaw (which he spoofed in another video) says an athlete “may establish his or her own business, provided the student-athlete’s name, photograph, appearance or athletics reputation are not used to promote the business.”
Last week, UCF said in a statement it is “committed to rules compliance.”
“Our compliance staff strives to make sure our student-athletes are informed about all pertinent NCAA bylaws,” the statement said. “Student-athletes attend regular educational meetings regarding NCAA eligibility. One of our goals is to help our student-athletes learn about the bylaws that govern intercollegiate athletics, in an effort to help them maintain their eligibility.”
De La Haye, who was born in Costa Rica before his family moved to Florida, said the money he makes from his videos is sent home to help his family.
“My family’s struggling at home,” he said. “(A lot of) people living in my house. Tons of bills piling up and there’s no way for me to help. I thought I found a way.”
De La Haye was UCF’s kickoff specialist during his first two seasons with the program. He will be a junior for the Knights, if eligible, during the 2017 season.
For more UCF news, visit UCFSports.com.
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