College Student Loses Scholarship, Sues School

College Student Loses Scholarship, Sues School
Susan Dutca-Lovell

A former University of Central Florida football player who lost his athletic scholarship for his "YouTube antics" is now suing the university for allegedly violating his constitutional rights. In its defense, the university claims he violated NCAA rules "on players not making money from their likeness and reputation."

Donald De La Haye began making YouTube videos in 2011, prior to joining the University of Central Florida's football team - videos such as "poking fun at Colin Kaepernick and chucking a football on a makeshift Slip-n-Slide." His videos earned him over a half a million followers, but cost him a place on the team and his athletic scholarship. UCF upheld the NCAA rules that bars athletes from receiving compensation when using their names or athletic talent which, according to De La Haye, silenced and violated his free speech rights, protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendment. Furthermore, he claims that the "scholarship removal was 'arbitrary and unreasonable' because it wasn't related to his academic or disciplinary standing, or his athletic performance."

The lawsuit also states that De La Haye began receiving "modest compensation" from YouTube after gaining popularity for his videos. Prior to having his athletic scholarship rescinded, he reportedly "offered to discontinue this deal on videos that referenced his status as a football player or showed off his athletic prowess." In response, the university stated that he could not post anything football-related if other videos earned him money, and went on to take his scholarship away.

The courts have "deemed the [NCAA] a private entity, not a state actor," and therefore, De La Haye couldn't allege a constitutional violation against it. In your opinion, does De La Haye deserve to have his scholarship revoked based on his actions and current NCAA rules? Why or why not?

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