A court case concerning an under-explored area of YouTube law is heating up. A Florida judge has denied the University of Central Florida (UCF)’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Donald De La Haye, who lost his football scholarship at UCF after making ad revenue from videos he posted to his YouTube channel.
De La Haye’s battle with UCF began last year, when “some people upstairs” warned him that his YouTube videos, some of which showcased his life as a student-athlete, could be construed as an impermissible benefit under NCAA rules. When De La Haye, a kickoff specialist on the UCF Knights football team, refused to remove monetization from his channel, he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
In January 2018, De La Haye filed a lawsuit against UCF, arguing that the school’s decision to revoke his scholarship because of his YouTube videos was a violation of his right to free speech. UCF tried to get the case thrown out, but senior district judge Anne Conway ruled that his claim is legitimate.
Student-athletes who wish to post videos on YouTube should be following this case very closely. De La Haye is not the only member of that class to find himself in hot water with the NCAA after sharing videos on line. Last September, Texas A&M cross country runner Ryan Trahan received unwanted attention from the NCAA after promoting a water bottle company. De La Haye’s case may not establish a consensus in this area, but it will at least give any similar lawsuits a precedent to look back upon.