Donald De La Haye used to play football for the University of Central Florida. He also used to have a scholarship that covered the cost of his education at the university. De La Haye, a junior at UCF, lost both his spot on the football team and his scholarship this week after the NCAA deemed him ineligible to play collegiate sports. The reason? He’d made money posting videos on YouTube.
In a video posted on his channel — De La Haye has 98,000 followers — on Monday, he explained how he went from kicking for UCF to having to crowdfund money for tuition. He explains that the school tried to “compromise,” but he didn’t feel like any of the options they presented were fair. The NCAA was going to allow De La Haye to continue posting videos, and monetizing them, as long as they didn’t “reference his status as a student-athlete or depict his football skill or ability.” Football-related videos would be permitted on a separate channel and could not be monetized. (All of his top-viewed YouTube videos have to do with football.) De La Haye didn’t go for it. “In the end, I don’t feel like there was any compromising really happening. They wanted me to give my money up, that I made, which is crazy. I worked so hard for it,” he said in his video on Monday. “They wanted me to take down my videos.”
According the NCAA bylaws, a student “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’s side hustle was clearly in violation of that rule, though with his most popular video charting in at just shy of 500,000 views, it seems unlikely he was bringing in that much revenue. Since deciding to part ways with the NCAA, De La Haye also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for school. He’s raised a little over $4,300 in the day that the campaign has been live. “Yes, I made a little bit of money from youtube but nowhere near enough to pay for school,” De La Haye wrote in the campaign’s description. “I want to continue pursuing my passion of creating videos, I also want to continue pursuing my marketing degree but no longer have the funds necessary to achieve that.”