With ESPN’s College Gameday in town for Saturday’s huge football game between the No. 8 Badgers and No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, a basketball player called out the NCAA and raised money for local charity.
Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year and UW forward Nigel Hayes stood outside among the throngs of Badgers fans with a sign reading, "Broke College Athlete, Anything Helps" and the account name BrokeBadger1 to take donations via the popular payment app Venmo.
The Venmo account actually belongs to a friend, Hayes told ESPN, since Hayes himself is not allowed to collect money. Hayes said will donate anything he collects to the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, according to Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Johnson said Hayes had raised about $700.
"I think it’s a wonderful statement. That he’s bringing resources to kids in our community says a lot about his character," Johnson said.
And to anyone who would call it a publicity stunt, Johnsons said he knows better.
"Here’s a young kid that comes to the Boys and Girls Club all the time and tells me not to share it with the public because he wants to have a relationship with our kids," Johnson said.
Hayes’s protest comes a day after he took to Twitter to blast the NCAA for failure to pay its student athletes.