Nigel Hayes takes jab at NCAA with clever College GameDay sign

The Dagger
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaab/players/120669/" data-ylk="slk:Nigel Hayes">Nigel Hayes</a> (AP)
Nigel Hayes (AP)

Three days before ESPN’s College GameDay visited Madison for Saturday’s football game between Ohio State and Wisconsin, Badgers basketball player Nigel Hayes sent the following Tweet.

“I’ll be there for Game Day and I’ll have a great sign!” he wrote.

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Hayes delivered on his promise, bringing an attention-grabbing sign that lambasted the NCAA for its amateurism policies preventing high-profile college athletes from obtaining more of the income they help generate. The sign read “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE, ANYTHING HELPS” and included the Venmo account “BrokeBadger1.”

A quick search on Venmo reveals that the BrokeBadger1 account appears to belong to Taurean Villolovos, who like Hayes is a former high school basketball player from Toledo, Ohio.  Eight people had already publicly paid the account as of 12 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. 

The sign Hayes made is similar to one seen on GameDay earlier this season when a college student asked his mom for beer money and included his Venmo account. More than 2,000 people subsequently contributed to the student’s Venmo.

Hayes elaborated on his frustration with NCAA amateurism rules in a series of Twitter posts sent Friday.

This is not the first time Hayes has used his platform to speak out on a social issue of importance to him. Hayes has previously ripped the NCAA for its hypocrisy and spoken passionately and eloquently about racial inequality.

As the leading returning scorer on a preseason top 15 team, Hayes has sufficient stature to draw attention to his causes. The 6-foot-8 senior contributed to a pair of Final Four teams in 2014 and 2015 and nearly entered the NBA draft last spring after helping the Badgers get back to the Sweet 16.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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