UCF kicker says NCAA rules may force him to give up thriving YouTube channel


UCF kicker Donald De La Haye has a pretty popular YouTube channel.

Over the past year or so, his videos, some of which offer an inside look at what it’s like to be a college football player, have accumulated more than 2 million views while the channel itself boasts more than 50,000 subscribers.

Despite the success, he may have to stop posting videos after a recent visit to the school’s compliance office.

In his most recent video, titled “Quit College Sports or Quit YouTube?,” De La Haye explained that because he makes money from advertisements on his videos he may not be able to continue creating them while maintaining his eligibility because the NCAA does not allow student-athletes to profit from their own likenesses.

“Some people upstairs aren’t happy with my videos, and they feel like I’m violating NCAA rules,” he said in the video. “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.”

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Later in the video, apparently after the compliance meeting, De La Haye’s hope that there could be a compromise of continuing with both — making the videos and steering clear of any NCAA violations — didn’t go as he would have liked.

“Basically, I’m not allowed to make any money off my YouTube videos,” he explained. “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.”

UCF sent out the following statement later on Monday: “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.”

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De La Haye, UCF’s kickoff specialist the past two seasons, explained how much of a passion the creative process has been for him and how it breaks his heart that he may have to choose one or the other. He does not specify if he would have to stop posting videos altogether or just ones that showcase himself as an NCAA athlete.

He also expressed frustration that he is not allowed to “get any benefits” from the work he puts into his videos.

“It’s really tough. I’m not doing anything wrong,” De La Haye said. “I’m not making money illegally. I’m not selling dope. I’m not kidnapping people or robbing people. I’m not selling my autographs for money. I’m not sitting here getting Nike checks and Nike deals and all these sponsorships. I’m literally filming stuff. I’m sitting here, editing things on my computer for hours and developing my own brand. I put in the work, and I’m not allowed to get any benefits from the work.”

De Le Haye, who was born in Costa Rica before his family moved to Florida, mentioned that some of the money he makes is sent home to help his family pay bills.

“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.”

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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