Ex-UCF kicker stands by decision to give up his eligibility

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Former UCF kicker Donald De La Haye says all he wanted to do was follow his passion and make a little money with videos he posted on YouTube.

But since some of those videos included his experiences as a student-athlete, it wasn't that simple. UCF and the NCAA offered De La Haye an alternative that he felt was ''very unfair.''

''They wanted me to give up my money that I made, which is crazy,'' De La Haye said in a video he posted Monday night. ''I worked hard for it and you just want me to throw my money away and take down my videos, which again, I worked so hard for and wasn't comfortable doing.

''So I told them no.''

De La Haye, who could not reached for comment on Tuesday, said he was ruled ineligible, had his scholarship taken away and now is out of school. In-state tuition at UCF is about $22,000. The marketing major would have been a junior on the football team this season.

UCF said in a released statement it sought and received a waiver from the NCAA that allowed De La Haye to continue making the videos that chronicle his life on and away from the football field. The waiver would have allowed De La Haye to continue making money off the advertising from his videos - as long as they did not depict him as a student-athlete. Videos depicting him as a student-athlete would have to put on a non-monetized account.

The waiver also required De La Haye to pay back the money he has earned from the videos, though that amount is still unclear. When UCF began looking into the profits De La Haye was making for the videos in June he had over 55,000 subscribers. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had 95,111 subscribers and his video from Monday had 134,552 views.

The videos capture the outgoing personality of the Costa Rican native.

''In the end I don't feel like there was any compromise really happening,'' De La Haye said in the 5 minute, 39 second video.

As a sophomore, De La Haye - who played high school football in Port St. Lucie, Florida - appeared in all 13 of the Knights games as a kickoff specialist. He had 73 kickoffs totaling 4,441 yards, averaging 60.8 yards per kick and finished with 37 touch backs.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from profiting from their likeness or status as student-athletes because it violates amateur guidelines. NCAA bylaw 12.4.4 regarding self-employment states a student-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.

Ramogi Huma, president of student-athlete advocacy group National College Players Association, said UCF and the NCAA are in violation of antitrust law for not allowing De La Haye to profit from his likeness and image.

''What's at the core of this is the fact that NCAA and the colleges want to monopolize every last commercial dollar,'' said Huma, who said he has never met or talked with De La Haye. ''They don't want to have to compete with players over those commercial dollars.

''The very people making the decisions are the very people getting six and seven figures salaries because they are denying players like Donald equal rights under the law.''

The NCAA said De La Haye making the YouTube videos and profiting from them was not an NCAA violation, which is why the governing body granted the waiver on July 14. The staff has the ability to review situations like De La Haye's on a case-by-case basis and rule based on 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 monetize his video activity as long as it was not based on his athletics reputation, prestige or ability,'' the NCAA statement read.

But when De La Haye did not agree with the stipulations, he had to give up his eligibility and scholarship.

''I'm definitely torn apart inside,'' he said in the video. ''I never thought it would come down to this.''

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.