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“I’m Not Demonetizing, I Refuse to” – UCF Kicker Launches New YouTube Channel Amid Compliance Controversy

UCF’s Donald De La Haye keeps YouTube ads.

NCAA Football: Florida International at Central Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UCF “kickoff specialist” Donald De La Haye may be the new standard-bearer for athletes who won’t just roll over for the NCAA.

De La Haye recently launched from relative anonymity to prominence as a result of a developing NCAA compliance controversy. De La Haye operates a YouTube Channel (“Deestroying”) which has ads and from which De La Haye makes (presumably modest) revenue. UCF told him to stop profiting from his videos to avoid NCAA problems - NCAA bylaw 12.4.4 prohibits a student-athlete from establishing a business if the athlete uses his or her “name, photograph, appearance or athletics reputation […] to promote the business.”

In a video last week, De La Haye said he’d continue, pledging, “I’m not demonetizing, I refuse to.”

The videos on this channel do continue to bear ads.

And now there’s a new wrinkle. De La Haye has started a new YouTube channel (“TD LOYALTY”) with a collaborator. It currently hosts a single video, a comedy skit titled “YOU KNOW YOU’RE BLACK IF,” that features De La Haye. Unlike De La Haye’s Deestroying channel, TD Loyalty – at least so far – does not reference UCF, football, or De La Haye’s “athletics reputation.” There’s also scant mention of De La Haye’s name. The channel’s logo includes his first name in tiny font and the video references only De La Haye’s Twitter handle.

It’s true that De La Haye has advertised the new channel on his Twitter account (which states that he is an “UCF Student Athlete”). But overall these choices suggest that the channel may be designed to minimize the risk of a problem under bylaw 12.4.4.

Interestingly, the channel does not have any ads anyway. Or at least it doesn’t as of this writing.

It’s an odd choice to keep the prior channel monetized while not (or at least, not yet) monetizing the arguably more compliant new channel.

Regardless, the controversy has been excellent publicity for De La Haye. It’s not like the “kickoff specialist” was overflowing with star power before this.[1] TD Loyalty has 10,091 subscribers, an average of about 2,000 new subscribers per day it has existed. Its single video is now over 15,000 views.

Likewise, the following for Deestroying has grown. When we last addressed the controversy, Deestroying had 53,762 subscribers. The channel is now at 75,830. It’s been a serious boost to De La Haye’s profile.

[1] But I’d be remiss to not share the rare De La Haye highlight: