Yesterday, the NCAA revoked the eligibility of UCF football player Donald De La Haye after determining he was profiting from his athletic endeavors because of his YouTube channel and after De La Haye refused to stop vlogging to the organization's satisfaction.
Being a Division I athlete on a scholarship is an elite status, and Donald De La Haye embraced that on his YouTube channel, posting videos mostly related to his athletic pursuits, whether humorous or an inside look at his routine. The NCAA expressed their disapproval of this in June, determining that because the videos were monetized, De La Haye was profiting from his own likeness and athletic status. He eventually posted the video below, in which he notes that the money was being used to help his family back in Costa Rica and that he disagreed with the decision.
The NCAA granted a waiver on July 14 that allowed De La Haye to make and profit from non-athletic videos, but he continued to create videos relating to his athletic pursuits, leading the NCAA to revoke his eligibility for the upcoming season on July 31, which they confirmed in the following statement:
Although Donald De La Haye has chosen not to compete any longer as a UCF student-athlete, he could have continued playing football for the university and earn money from non-athletic YouTube videos, based on a waiver the NCAA granted July 14.
De La Haye decided he did not want to separate his athletically-related videos from non-athletic ones he could monetize, which was outlined in the waiver for him to maintain eligibility.
Contrary to misperceptions, making a YouTube video — and even making money off of it — is not a violation of an NCAA rule. Further, years ago the membership gave NCAA staff the ability to review situations like these on a case-by-case basis, consistent with previous actions.
After the national office received the waiver request from UCF July 12, that process was used to confirm that De La Haye could continue to profit from any of his video activity as long as it was not based on his athletics reputation, prestige or ability.
De La Haye posted the following video afterward:
I personally find this absolutely ludicrous. De La Haye was essentially working a job: creating, producing, and editing his own content. To put it on par with leveraging one's celebrity to make money is ridiculous. I certainly hope both his eligibility and scholarship are reinstated.