"The University of Wisconsin Department of Athletics is aware of the involvement of current UW student-athlete Nigel Hayes in the Kessler/Jenkins lawsuit. Nigel Hayes is a valued member of the UW men's basketball team. The department fully supports Nigel as a student, student-athlete and team member. In a free society, people can reasonably disagree about any issue, express their views and seek to vindicate them through the legal process.
The department supports the many ongoing efforts to reform the regulation of intercollegiate athletics through the appropriate NCAA processes, including those reforms which seek to improve the welfare and educational experience of all student-athletes. The department is committed to the collegiate experience with education as its centerpiece. It does not believe that the professionalization of intercollegiate athletics is the proper path to reform, or likely to benefit all student-athletes."
Wisconsin basketball sophomore forward Nigel Hayes has joined the Martin Jenkins lawsuit seeking a free market to pay college athletes, CBS Sports reported Thursday. Along with Hayes, Middle Tennessee football player Anfornee Stewart also joined the suit with Jenkins, a Clemson football player, led by sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler. The suit against the NCAA and the Power 5 conferences is seeking an injunction that would create the free market and eliminate NCAA rules that "prohibit, cap or otherwise limit remuneration and benefits" to football and men's basketball players.
Hayes and Stewart were added as plaintiffs after three others left the case once their college eligibility elapsed: Rutgers basketball player J.J. Moore, UTEP football player Kevin Perry and Cal football player Bill Tyndall. With plaintiffs still sporting college eligibility, the suit also wants to stop the NCAA and Power 5 conferences from preventing schools "negotiating, offering, or providing remuneration" as compensation for athletes.
Both this Jenkins case and the Shawne Alston cost-of-attendance suit are consolidated, though the former is looking to move quicker since it's not seeking class-action damages. The Jenkins plaintiffs are scheduled to file the first motion for class certification on Nov. 6; the NCAA and the conferences are trying to prevent certification filings until Feb. 13, 2015, citing the need for discovery.
The fact that the Jenkins suit once again has plaintiffs with current eligibility is the key here. It's surprising to see a player like Hayes on the brink of a breakout sophomore season get involved, but that's likely much of the motivation for Kessler's group. How exactly Hayes became involved hasn't been reported yet, and it'll be interesting to see how much he'll want to discuss the suit in practices over the next few weeks. Wisconsin scrimmages UW-Parkside on Nov. 5 before season opener vs. Northern Kentucky on Nov. 14.