Mike Bianchi: Don’t demonize NCAA, UCF because kicker chose YouTube over football
UCF kicker Donald De La Haye has made a big mistake.
He has chosen to become a cause celebre against the NCAA over receiving a full-ride scholarship to kick a football and free advertising to market his controversial and entertaining YouTube videos.
Personally, I believe De La Haye is a good kid who has received bad advice.
I know, I know, I’m in the vast minority. The popular and predictable stance is to portray UCF and the NCAA as the big, bad bullies against the poor, exploited college athlete. The common synopsis was that De La Haye had been ruled ineligible by UCF for continuing to receive advertising money for his YouTube videos.
Except that’s not what happened.
What happened is the NCAA gave De La Haye an option. They told him he could make as much money as he wanted on his YouTube videos as long as he wasn’t wearing UCF gear, capitalizing on being a UCF football player and shooting videos at UCF’s facilities.
Question: Are you allowed to represent your company in a for-profit endeavor without getting your company’s permission?
The fact is, De La Haye was actually granted a waiver, which according to UCF, stated he “could maintain his eligibility and continue to monetize videos that did not reference his status as a student-athlete or depict his football skill or ability. The waiver also allowed him to create videos that referenced his status as a student-athlete or depict his football skill or ability if they were posted to a non-monetized account.”
Translation: De La Haye could make all the money he wanted on videos in which he didn’t portray himself as a UCF football player.
Personally, I believe this is a dumb NCAA rule for a bright kid like De La Haye, but I understand why the dumb rule is in place. The rule is on the books not for UCF kickers, but for Alabama running backs who would no doubt have well-heeled boosters lining up to pay them $10,000 per badly produced cell phone video.
And, as I’ve written before, please spare me the tired argument about how UCF and the NCAA are exploiting De La Haye by making money off of his likeness.
Read my lips:
NO THEY’RE NOT!
Nobody is making money on De La Haye except De La Haye. He’s a kicker, and he’s not even UCF’s main kicker; he’s not even UCF’s field goal kicker. He’s simply the guy who kicks off on those rare occasions when UCF actually scores.
This just in: Nobody buys his jersey and nobody buys a ticket to watch him kick off.
This is why I think he is making a big mistake by choosing not to abide by the NCAA’s stupid rules.
Not only is he giving up his lucrative scholarship, he’s also giving up the chance to market himself (and his videos) by still being on the team.
Think about it: Every time he kicked off this season, he would’ve been portrayed by network commentators as the “YouTube kicker” and would have received tons of free advertising for his “monetized” YouTube channel.
Obviously, some lawyer has convinced him he can be the next Ed O’Bannon.
Instead, I believe, he will disappear and be a forgotten name in a few weeks.
Donald De La Haye is a marketing major at UCF.
He should have continued marketing and milking this controversy for all it is worth.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Mike Bianchi is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.