Nigel Hayes talks Lea Michele on The Jim Rome Show

Prior to the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin Badgers forward Nigel Hayes jokingly used a press conference to let Glee actress Lea Michele know that he was “available.” Although, the junior wasn’t joking. Hayes joined The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday and said he hasn’t heard from the Hollywood star just yet, but used his time on the show to reinforce his availability for her.

“Now that I have an opportunity again, I think it came off as a joke more, but I think I’m trying to convey I’m actually serious, and I would love to take Lea on a date of some sort if she would,” Hayes said. “I know she’s very busy with her schedule, and currently I’m in the midst of the NCAA basketball tournament. But it’s something, I would, I’m trying to promote a more serious offer towards her that I would love to take her out.”

Being on a limited budget, Hayes had an idea of an affordable place he could take Michele if she accepted his offer.

“I like breakfast food, so if she would like to go somewhere, we can get breakfast at night. Waffle House, maybe,” Hayes said. “I’m sure that’s not on her celebrity budget, but with me footing the bill, I could cover the Waffle House easily, definitely. I’m sure she’d enjoy that. She seems like a simple women, herself, so I would have to see what I could do. Like I said last week, maybe she’s waiting for a bigger game. So that now we’re at the Sweet 16, maybe she’s like ok, maybe now that the team is winning.

Nigel considered that maybe her lack of response isn’t based on how well his team is playing, but rather how well he is playing.

“Or maybe she’s waiting on me to make a damn shot,” Hayes said. “Maybe that’s what she is waiting for so as soon as I make a shot everything should start going.”

During his three seasons in Madison, Hayes has been candid with his displeasure about the lack of compensation basketball players receive. Hayes spoke in length about Big 10 schools getting paid for the basketball they use and said it’s just another example of how the players aren’t seeing much of that money, something the junior is tired of.

“I’m not saying pay players like NBA players, but I think the players can be compensated for more than they are getting,” Hayes said. “That’s why you have issues where guys sell jerseys and sell memorabilia, so that way they can go on a vacation with all their other friends, or they want to go home and see their families, because I go to school in Wisconsin, but I’m from Ohio. That’s a six-hour drive. I can’t make a six-hour drive, but I could do a 45-minute flight, but how would I pay for it with no money?”

The potential NBA first-round draft pick made it clear he’s not asking for a lot of money for college players.

“We’re not looking to sign tens and thousands of dollar contracts or anything of that sort, but a couple extra hundred here or there could definitely help us,” Hayes said.

Hayes has been personally affected by the lack of income college athletes have. “My freshman year, I ran out of money on my campus dining card, so like the last three or four weeks I didn’t have any money to eat food. And when we went to our people and said hey is there any way we can get more money, they were like, ‘I’m sorry, we’d love to help you, but legally there’s nothing we can do. We can’t give you more money.’ And I think something in that situation where if I did have a couple extra hundred dollars it would have taken care of that issue.”

Hayes explained how he and others got by after their dining cards ran out of money.

“We sat in the locker room and tried to eat bagels and protein bars,” Hayes said. “Fortunately, we had some elder statesmen on our team and they were fortunate to help us out with some food here or there. Or when we had our training table, we probably took enough home so we could have leftovers for a family of five. So we did our best to try and make ends meet, but I think it’s something that the players shouldn’t have to go through where we’re coming here, and people say, ah you’re getting your education. Well the education isn’t worth the billions of dollars in TV that’s signed where there’s only college games on four channels.”

If there is already money involved, Hayes believes, why not slip some extra cash to the players themselves?

“There’s money being made somewhere, hundreds of millions of dollars being made with that, and again, that’s something that can be taken care of,” Hayes said. “Or another fact is you can’t carry a beverage of some sort unless it’s in a Powerade cup at these tournaments. Again, why would you have a rule where you can only have it in a Powerade cup, it sounds like an endorsement to me, and endorsements usually mean money, which means there’s money somewhere, and that’s money that the players aren’t necessarily getting. So not to say that players need to be paid an exuberant amount of money, but I think players can receive more than we’re getting.”



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