March Madness

It first aired during the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament. A commercial titled “A Day in the Life. It’s a commercial showing a student-athlete going through his daily life. Rising in the morning, off to class, running/practice with teammates, in a game, hanging with friends and finally back to bed. Several former student-athletes were quick to point out the unrealistic “day” on Twitter. No early morning strength training? No mandatory study hall? “these actors were paid more any of us,” were just a few comments. Although relative and on point, it was not the first thing that came to my mind.


*Although it first aired in March 2019, I did not see it until May 2019 during the Women’s Softball Championship Series.
The Decision (August 2017)

Donald De La Haye

This student-athlete filming or “vlogging” his life paid a heavy price. The cost, his scholarship. University of Central Florida (UCF) kicker Donald De Le Haye (Deestroying on YouTube) was stripped of his football scholarship after the NCAA deemed his YouTube channel in violation of NCAA rules. De La Haye, with approximately 150,000 subscribers (at that time) decided to monetize his YouTube channel. It’s not completely fair to say the NCAA took the scholarship away, they said he could keep his channel with a few “conditions.”
De La Haye could not make money off the channel, nor could he have any content related to athletics. Nothing with a football, talking sports, obviously no workouts with teammates. Absolutely, no in game huddle content. Anything related to athletics was prohibited. Basically, one half of the NCAA commercial would have be in violation of the conditions set on De La Haye.
According to De La Haye (he assumed), the UCF head coach Scott Frost “had his back”, but things quickly went South. De La Haye and UCF are a bit vague about the main points of contention. Frost took the politically correct path and UCF bowed to the demands of the NCAA
conditions. De La Haye says they put a wavier in from of him, they required him to sign it. He read it, but he did not sign it. Two days later, his scholarship was revoked, and he was required to leave his dorm room. Officially out of UCF.
*It is difficult to completely believe De La Haye’s version of the story. It’s only one side and in his “why I lost my scholarship” vlog, he admits to not being completely honest with UCF’s compliance department concerning the revenue his YouTube channel had generated.
The Decision
According to De La Haye and some media outlets, he had made approximately $4,000.00 from ads on his YouTube channel. Quite a decision to make, a college scholarship or quit making $4,000.00? He chose YouTube. After he chose YouTube over a scholarship, he made a YouTube video asking his viewers to help fund his college expenses. (see how I lost my scholarship) “E-begging” as it is known by some on the internet.

Although quite busy with his new full time YouTube business, he still found time to file suit in January 2018 against UCF President John Hitt, athletic director Danny White, 2 university VP’s, and 13 board of trustee members. De La Haye filed under 1st and 14th amendment violations. *The federal court dismissed the 14th amendment violation.

Poking the Bear

Donald De La Haye’s story (for better or worse) should have been the end of it. However, the NCAA has potentially opened a pandora’s box of problems. De La Haye was a kick-off specialist for UCF. UCF maybe a top 25 program, but mostly seen on regional networks. A kick-off specialist is not the most recognized position on the football squad. What would happen if a player from a top 25 school followed the format provided in the NCAA commercial? Someone with a much higher profile? No one fits this better the former defensive end Chase Winovich from the University of Michigan.
Winovich was a brash and out-spoken player for the Wolverines. Rugged good looks, long flowing blonde hair. He’s a subtle reminder of Hulk Hogan in his hay-day. Chase is said to have Connor McGregor’s cell phone number. They talk from time to time. Chase calls Connor his “big brother”. He once dated Madonna’s eldest daughter Lourdes Leon while they were both students at UofM.

The Forbidden Fruit

So, Chase decides to start a YouTube channel. Filming exactly what the NCAA commercial included. Then, factor in nationally televised games and sportscasters filling the audience in on his personal connections and dating life. Throw in a McGregor cameo to boot. Not to mention he’s a pretty good player and that draws a lot of attention. Just how big do you think his social media presents would be? A player such as Chase would be sitting on a gold mine. You can be sure that there are more than a few people telling him about these vast riches.
De La Haye and Winovich are really on opposite ends of the spectrum. There are many more student-athletes that lay somewhere in the middle that could make a large sum of money on social media. I blame the NCAA for this “apple dangling” scenario. Athletes could end up being in this situation if the NCAA would not have given them green light to proceed. University compliance officers were probably pulling their hair out after seeing this commercial.

The Parlay

Some may think all they have to do is wait until they “turn pro” then reap the benefits. But that isn’t always the case. Drawing a lot of attention to yourself does not make you popular with an NFL organization.
Just ask Colin Kaepernick.
Let’s look at Chase Winovich. Case was drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots. Chase is already well versed in the “Patriot Way” “I don’t know if it’s so much the Patriots,” Winovich, a third-round defensive end, said after Wednesday’s minicamp practice. “I’m a rookie. Being vocal, especially in the media, being a blinking light, is not what I aim to be right now. My goal is to make the 53-man roster and contribute to this team in a positive way.” ( Not the words of an aspiring social media mogul.
Gronk is another story.

Two Minute Warning

There isn’t a white hat in this story. De La Haye was not completely honest with UCF. It is a bit hard to believe he did not know that he could not make money while he was on scholarship. It is always better to beg for forgiveness, than ask for permission. This might be the exception to this rule. The NCAA still is unwilling to compromise with regards to financial payments to athletes. For all the time and meetings that are spent educating college athletes on the perils of social media, The NCAA has given them a loophole. Some athletes may not see this loophole for what it really is, a snare. Go to college and be an athlete. Take advantage of every opportunity, just don’t take the money. Easier said than done.
After spending two years out of competitive football, De La Haye got a tryout in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. He made the practice squad.
I emailed De La Haye asking for a comment on the commercial. At the time of this writing, he has not responded.

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Replies to This Discussion


Interesting take.  Do you have any links to Chase Winovich's Youtube channel, or 'day in the life' video?  I can't seem to find them.

Ill look for the day in the life link. I see this Twitter link doesn't work. No, info in a winovich channel. I have a terrible time with copy/paste from Word to the Torch. you can find the commercial posted on this page.

Interesting story Barney. Like many institutions one may be required to sign some form of a non disclosure agreement. This may have been in the paperwork he signed when he entered the scholarship program. He was given a chance to keep his scholarship but chose to take another path. His choice, his consequences. So now he's suing. Not all athletes are spoiled but he is a perfect example of a typical spoiled athlete. He should honor his commitment and do what's best for the team.

My impression of the waiver was the NCAA's allowance of the YouTube channel and his agreement to follow their conditions.  


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