UCF placekicker Donald De La Haye has been ordered by the NCAA to either shut down his monetized YouTube channel or end his athletics career.
De La Haye posted a video explaining the situation on his channel, which features vlogs detailing his day-to-day life as a student athlete. His channel has 54,000 subscribers and as such qualifies for ad revenue sharing through YouTube’s content creation program. The NCAA says this violates their (antiquated, draconian, and altogether idiotic) rules against student athletes being able to profit from their own likeness. Specifically cited is NCAA bylaw 12.4.4, stating that 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.”
De La Haye, who majors in Marketing at the Orlando university, says the channel allows him to apply the concepts of his coursework to a real-world scenario as he attempts to “build [his] brand.” He says in the vlog pertaining to the case that his videos take hours for him to shoot, edit and upload, and he considers it his job away from football, for which he should be fairly compensated. De La Haye, who is originally from Costa Rica, heavily implies that the money he received from his success on YouTube was intended to help his family who are struggling financially back home.
The Orlando Sentinel reported on the story, including a response from UCF:
The UCF athletics department released the following statement Monday when asked about De La Haye’s YouTube dilemma:
“UCF Athletics is committed to rules compliance. Our compliance staff strives to make sure our student-athletes are informed about all pertinent NCAA bylaws. 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.”
A source told the Sentinel, De La Haye was not told he had to immediately stop creating videos and he will continue to meet with compliance office staff to address the YouTube video issue.
The ownership of player names and likenesses by the NCAA has been an ongoing point of contention. In 2009, Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon successfully sued the NCAA and video game developer EA over the use of player likenesses in its games, resulting in payments to every affected player between 2006 and 2014.