In 2017, Donald De La Haye, a Division I football player for the University of Central Florida of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”), was deemed ineligible for NCAA participation due to his successful YouTube channel, “Deestroying.” De La Haye was a kicker for the University of Central Florida’s (“UCF”) football team. At the time, his YouTube channel had over 90,000 subscribers and almost 5,000,000 views. The NCAA found De La Haye ineligible because he was compensated for videos that included aspects of his life as an NCAA athlete—a violation of the NCAA bylaws.
The consequences of this decision were life changing for De La Haye and went well beyond losing football. As De La Haye explained, “no more college football[,] since I can’t play college football[,] no more scholarship[,] I’m ineligible[,] I can’t pay for school.” De La Haye had created content for his YouTube channel before he was UCF’s kicker. However, as soon as he became a NCAA athlete, his compliance officer explained that he could no longer be compensated for the use of his own name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). De La Haye is a prime example of the NCAA’s ability to control players’ lives through the simultaneous exploitation and restriction of their publicity rights.