As technology pushes society into the great technological unknown, Central Florida kicker Donald De La Haye put the NCAA into a 21st century compliance quandary. De La Haye has a YouTube channel — Deestroying — that has accumulated 91,000 followers and regularly draws more than 100,000 views. Those views are worth money, and De La Haye was no secret about using his status as an NCAA athlete in the channel’s content.
That combination — college athlete status plus money — is straight against the NCAA’s amateurism policy, and the organization asked De La Haye to shut down his channel. He refused. He in a meta twist to the story, De La Haye discussed the situation on the very medium that the NCAA wanted him to shut down.
The UCF athletics department negotiated with the NCAA on De La Haye’s behalf, which came up with two possible solutions: either keep the account monetized but don’t reference his status as an NCAA athlete, or keep the content as is but stop monetizing his content.
De La Haye refused both options, choosing YouTube over UCF.
From the NCAA’s perspective, the De La Haye case is an open-and-shut one. Players are barred from turning their status as student-athletes into dollars, and De La Haye was doing exactly that.
But from an actual human perspective, it’s hard to agree with the NCAA here. De La Haye isn’t doing anything that any other NCAA athlete in any sport at any level couldn’t do. And who, exactly, is it hurting that De La Haye happens to accept advertising dollars from Google ad services? Does anyone really believe UCF boosters are going to figure out how to game that system in order to pay off their kickoff specialist?
De La Haye says he sends the money from his YouTube channel home to his cash-strapped family in his native Costa Rica. It’s highly unlikely De La Haye would have gone professional as a kicker, so it’s easy to see why he’s decided to go — or stay — pro as a YouTuber.