Nigel Hayes is a clever man. As a senior basketball star at the University of Wisconsin (a program that made it to the NCAA Tournament Semi Finals in 2014, and the National Championship in 2015) he is the rare collegiate basketball player to have a relatively large fanbase. Through this established platform he has created for himself at the University of Wisconsin, Hayes was able to create a lot of noise when in October he showed up to a football tailgate at the University with a particular sign in hand.
The sign as show above is telling and makes a bold statement: Broke College Athlete. What else is there to say? On one end, reading his sign is saddening, on the other it’s humorous that in 2016, athlete like Hayes can use these type of application like Venmo as an aid to help his “Broke” status. After the fact, Hayes insisted that all money transfers to his account “Broke Badger” (which was a bunch of cash) would go straight to charity. On the surface, Hayes proved that he has a bright in something besides basketball, after all, his sign could be see an entrepreneurial and admirable; and a modern day activist. Hayes understands that in 2016, social media is a great way to get your point across. In a recent interview with ESPN, Hayes touched upon this in a rather intelligent and way.
The Question: Do you think technology is a key to improving the situation, since people can now see it?
The Answer: Definitely. When you listen to the great speakers or the great peacemakers of the world, the great problem-solvers, the one thing they always rely on to fix any problems is education. Social media is definitely a great way to spread information. I can put out a tweet, and if it goes viral, up to a million people or more can see it.
Looking past the surface, Hayes backs up his sign with facts proving that besides being a college athlete, he is well aware of the profit margins and salary discrepancies in college sports. Furthermore Hayes is very fact of the matter, he knows his point, and he even knows specific numbers
He sent a number of tweets in the following days which proves his intelligence and certainly gained him even more fans. Amongst others, his point was clear. A University of Wisconsin scholarship for an out of state student, like Hayes is valued at 160 thousand, however the Big Ten alone made 450 million in profits. As Hayes sarcastically puts it, far better than I ever could, “If only there was enough money to pay us”
If only Mr. Hayes, if only…
Too be fair, compared to the other topics Hayes might not really care to much about whether athletes get paid. He actively speaks out against more important issues like racial injustices within his university and police brutality.
I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I’d bet that Hayes is going to be an athlete that we are going to hear about far beyond his playing years are done.