In 2017, Donald De La Haye was handed an ultimatum: Give up his profitable YouTube channel or forfeit his UCF athletic scholarship. He ultimately chose the latter.
The former UCF kicker had garnered a large online following with his sports-themed YouTube channel, Deestroying. As his content became more frequent, De La Haye's subscriber count and views began to surge... and so did the YouTube paychecks. The athlete claims that while at UCF, he was making thousands of dollars a month with his monetized videos, which, unbeknownst to him, was a violation of the NCAA bylaw 12.4.4.
The rule 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.
For the latest installment of Complex News Presents, we spoke to De La Haye about his controversial case and how it fueled the ongoing debate about student-athlete compensation and the restrictive NCAA guidelines.
"So we say 'student-athlete,' and then the question is, 'Well, should be they allowed pay?' We don't ask that with anybody else," said Jay Bilas, an ESPN analyst and Duke University alum. "The student-musician is allowed whatever they can earn. They can accept anything they want. [...] The question I would ask is not, 'Should athletes be let out of the pen?' It's, 'Why are they treated differently than everybody else? Why is everyone else allowed whatever they want, but the athletes are allowed only what we say, when we say, and how we say?'"
Watch the full episode up top.