NCAA’s hypocrisy on dis­play again

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - DERON SNYDER

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, NCAA doesn’t stand for Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion. It stands for No Com­pas­sion At All.

The body that rules in­ter­col­le­giate sports and bleeds the rev­enue-pro­duc­ing la­bor­ers has struck again. Give the over­lords credit for one thing: They’re re­mark­ably con­sis­tent in their heart­less han­dling of col­lege ath­letes.

Don­ald De La Haye is just the lat­est ex­am­ple in a long line of young adults who ran afoul of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ar­chaic rules. A kicker for Cen­tral Florida, De La Haye was ruled in­el­i­gi­ble Mon­day be­cause he re­fused to ac­cept NCAA re­stric­tions on his pop­u­lar YouTube chan­nel.

He cre­ated videos that de­picted his life as stu­den­tath­lete and brought him a small profit thanks to more than 95,000 sub­scribers. But the NCAA’s shorts bunch up when any­one else makes a dol­lar. De La Haye was told he couldn’t mon­e­tize videos that ref­er­enced his sta­tus as a player or showed his skills. Those videos would have to be moved to a non-mon­e­tized YouTube ac­count if he wanted to main­tain his el­i­gi­bil­ity.

“De La Haye chose not to ac­cept the con­di­tions of the waiver and has there­fore been ruled in­el­i­gi­ble to com­pete in NCAA-sanc­tioned com­pe­ti­tion,” the school said in a state­ment. “UCF Ath­let­ics wishes him the best in fu­ture en­deav­ors.”

The NCAA thinks it de­serves a medal for try­ing to work with De La Haye, grant­ing a waiver to con­tinue his en­ter­prise mi­nus ath­letic ref­er­ences. (It also re­quired him to pay back the money pre­vi­ously earned, an amount that’s un­clear but cer­tainly close to mea­ger.) In a tweet, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said the kicker “chose not to com­pete any longer” be­cause he “did not want to sep­a­rate his ath­let­i­cally-re­lated videos from non-ath­letic ones he could mon­e­tize.”

Turns out that stu­dent-ath­letes can make all the money they want on YouTube, pro­vided the videos aren’t based on ath­letic rep­u­ta­tion, pres­tige or abil­ity. The NCAA also wanted to make some­thing else clear: “To clar­ify me­dia mis­re­port­ing,” NCAA spokesper­son Stacey Os­burn, “UCF de­clared Don­ald De La Haye in­el­i­gi­ble, not the NCAA.”

Wow. That’s a gang­ster move right there. We know UCF axed the kicker to avoid be­ing knee-capped with penal­ties from the bosses. The NCAA can feign in­no­cence all it wants, but only a fool can’t con­nect these su­per-sized dots.

“What’s at the core of this is the fact that NCAA and the col­leges want to mo­nop­o­lize every last com­mer­cial dol­lar,” Na­tional Col­lege Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Ramogi Huma told the Associated Press. “They don’t want to have to com­pete with play­ers over those com­mer­cial dol­lars.

“The very peo­ple mak­ing the de­ci­sions are the very peo­ple get­ting six and seven fig­ures salaries be­cause they are deny­ing play­ers like Don­ald equal rights un­der the law.”

It’s beyond me how some folks don’t see the un­fair­ness. Stu­dents who re­ceive schol­ar­ships for mu­sic, dance, drama or aca­demics are free to earn as much in­come as pos­si­ble. Why should ath­letic schol­ar­ships be any dif­fer­ent? Why should re­cip­i­ents be forced to forgo op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to every other stu­dent on cam­pus?

NCAA by­laws on self-em­ploy­ment state “a stu­dent-ath­lete may es­tab­lish his or her own busi­ness, pro­vided the stu­dent-ath­lete’s name, pho­to­graph, ap­pear­ance or ath­let­ics rep­u­ta­tion are not used to pro­mote the busi­ness.”

Mean­while, the or­ga­ni­za­tion does all of the above. What a deal!

“They wanted me to give up my money that I made, which is crazy,” De La Haye said in a video he posted Mon­day night. “I worked hard for it and you just want me to throw my money away and take down my videos, which again, I worked so hard for and wasn’t com­fort­able do­ing. So I told them no.”

As a re­sult, his schol­ar­ship was taken away and he’s out of school, un­able to pay the $22,000 for tu­ition, room and board, books and fees. In­stead of pre­par­ing for his ju­nior year, the mar­ket­ing ma­jor is mon­i­tor­ing a GoFundMe that had raised $7,315 as of Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Here’s hop­ing De La Haye files a fed­eral law­suit like those brought by Ed O’Ban­non and Chris Spiel­man. The NCAA needs to pay for its long his­tory of abus­ing stu­dent-ath­letes’ rights. It once de­clared for­mer Colorado foot­ball Jeremy Bloom in­el­i­gi­ble be­cause he was a world-class skier, and also threat­ened for­mer North­west­ern half­back Dar­nell Autry, a drama ma­jor, with loss of el­i­gi­bil­ity for ac­cept­ing an un­paid movie role.

This isn’t a case of the long­stand­ing ar­gu­ment over col­leges pay­ing or not pay­ing ath­letes. This is about al­low­ing them to use their own name and im­age just like the NCAA.

But that’s ask­ing too much for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that’s both heart­less and soul­less.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cen­tral Florida kicker Don­ald De La Haye was ruled in­el­i­gi­ble on Mon­day be­cause he re­fused to ac­cept NCAA re­stric­tions on his pop­u­lar YouTube chan­nel.

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