The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team considered boycotting a game during the 2016-17 season to protest NCAA rules regarding athlete compensation.
“I knew 90 percent of the guys were on board from the get-go, before I asked the question. But I let them know that if one of you guys says no, we won't do it because, obviously, we're a team and we're going to stick together.
“In hindsight, I think those guys that said no would change their mind now. That's usually what happens. The guys who don't go on to the NBA, once they leave college, they look back and say, ‘Wow, I was exploited — and now I have nothing to show for it.’ … So, I think we missed our opportunity, but hopefully this word gets out and it will inspire a group of kids that in college now or will be in college.”
In his four years at Wisconsin, Hayes voiced his displeasure with the NCAA's amateur rules that prevent athletes from receiving financial compensation for their name and likeness:
Hayes was named as a plaintiff in a 2014 lawsuit that sought an injunction against the NCAA rules limiting athletes' compensation.
After his senior season at Wisconsin, Hayes went undrafted by the NBA in 2017. He appeared in nine games with three different teams last season, averaging three points and 2.4 rebounds per game.