Division I athletes will receive a mandatory day off the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 every year, giving them time to vote in elections.
The Division I Council approved a new rule Wednesday that said athletes will not practice or compete, among other countable athletic activities, on the annual election day, providing them ample time to participate in the voting process.
The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee suggested the legislation, marking its first proposal since athletes received votes toward Division I decisions in 2014, according to a press release.
Two weeks after a league-wide council dedicated to racial equity and social justice was launched, the Southeastern Conference has created a vo…
“The Council unanimously supports this important piece of legislation," council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletic director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. "Coming from Division I SAAC, we know it represents the voice of student-athletes across the country who continue to express a desire to increase their civic engagement at local, state and federal levels."
Encouraging people to vote in the 2020 general election has become a focus amongst some athletes in the midst of nationwide protests against racism and social injustice. Most NBA teams turned their areas into early voting sites.
Before the NCAA's decision, the Southeastern Conference created a Voter Education and Participation Program designed to support league members' engagement in the November general election and other local, state and federal elections.
The Division I SAAC said in a press release it wanted to emphasize the importance of protecting student-athletes' rights as citizens.
“By providing this day dedicated to civic engagement each year, we are making a clear distinction that our American student-athletes will always be citizens before they are athletes," Ethan Good, Division I SAAC chair and a former men’s basketball player at Bowling Green, said in a statement. "The student-athlete voice continues to grow louder and louder every year, and we can see that through this action."