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5-Minute Rule: The NCAA Hates Students Making Money

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Former UCF kicker Donald De La Haye had a nice thing, so the NCAA took it away

NCAA President Mark Emmert Press Conference Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Hey! Everyone already hates my guts, so let’s double down and defend a UCF student! (To be clear: I am putting C. and the NCAA on blast for their roles in this.)

If you don’t know what’s going on by now, UCF kicker Donald De La Haye has been declared ineligible for the upcoming football season. The reason: he refuses to demonetize his YouTube channel.

What does this have to do with USF? Nothing - not directly, at least. It’s not often you have a football player that’s also big enough on YouTube to actually make money off it. As USF fans, we don’t actually care. But as humans, this is garbage.

Also, C. is being terrible again, so care about C. being terrible.

First, let me lead off with a tweet from Collin:

Collin was so hacked off he went on Orlando sports radio on Monday to discuss the ban. You should be pissed too, for all college athletes.

Now, C. ruled De La Haye ineligible, not the NCAA. The Knights are perfectly allowed to play De La Haye, but they would forfeit every game he plays. I can’t really blame C. for not wanting to forfeit every game this year. If they’re going to go 0-12 (again), I want them to earn that perfect record. #NeverForget #UCFDonut

However, their reaction for having to declare De La Haye ineligible was... unsupportive.

Translation: “We sent a waiver to the NCAA asking if he can play if his channel doesn’t actually make any money, or if his channel doesn’t reference a cornerstone of his personality. It was approved, but he wasn’t about it. So we kicked him off the team. C. wishes him the best in his future endeavors.”

Really? That’s your statement? Just toss him out like yesterday’s trash? If I was a fan of — actually, no. As a current college student, I want to hear C. say, “We strongly disagree with the decision of the NCAA and will continue to fight for his ability to keep his channel and play football. However, until such a time that De La Haye is able to do both, he will unfortunately be ineligible to play for us.”

I would be incredibly disappointed in USF if the administration did that to one of my classmates. C. basically gave up after doing the bare minimum, and barely gave De La Haye an afterthought. Support your own, dammit.

And you, NCAA. You are actually the worst. So what if a kid has some athletic videos on his YouTube channel? You’re telling human beings that they don’t own their own image. To tell an athlete they’re not allowed to show their athletic side is to tell them to hide a huge cornerstone of their personality. It’s impossible to hide that side of your life.

Not only that, but De La Haye’s intentions with the money could hardly be more noble. He sends the money he makes off his videos to his struggling family. He’s doing what he can to provide for his family while dealing with the constraints of a D-I football career. Is that really such a sin?

It’s the umpteenth time that the NCAA’s hypocrisy is on full display. Once again, they’ll earn billions off of these athletes while the players themselves won’t see a cent. But the difference this time is that the player was actually doing something to make money, instead of just demanding money while also receiving a D-I football scholarship. He was recording his life when YouTube gave him a chance to make a better life for his family. A chance to give back a little bit. Do you really expect him to say no?

Could you say it might have been smarter to just stick with football and get his degree? Yes. Could he have continued practicing his craft without any money involved? Yes. But De La Haye’s future isn’t football. It’s marketing. He made his decision to focus on his craft, and I have a hard time arguing it. The NCAA forced De La Haye to chose between two of the loves of his life. Why should anyone be forced to give up something they’ve earned?

De La Haye can’t continue going to school without his football scholarship. He’s already set up a GoFundMe to try to pay for school. I get it, he goes to UCF. But help the guy, he deserves it.