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Pac-12 considering making Election Day a mandatory off-day

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As part of the growing effort to empower young people across the country, the Pac-12 is talking about joining a popular movement in college athletics.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It all started with a tweet from a college basketball assistant coach one week ago. Now, his call to empower student-athletes is picking up steam.

Last week, Georgia Tech assistant Eric Reveno took to Twitter with one simple idea to help student-athletes be a part of a growing trend calling for world-wide change: make federal Election Day on November 3rd a mandatory off-day.

Georgia Tech has since announced that they will not hold practice on Election Day, and the idea was picked up by multiple coaches and figures in college sports. Gonzaga’s Mark Few quickly reacted, saying he would also cancel activities on November 3rd.

Earlier this week, the University of Oregon put out a statement, joining in on the movement and canceling activities on Election Day.

“No basketball-related activities will be taking place on Tuesday, November 3, 2020,” the statement read. “It is important for our student-athletes’ voices to be heard. We encourage them to use their right to vote.”

And it’s not just individual programs looking to enact the change. In an interview with CBS Sports, TCU head coach and National Association of Basketball Coaches President Jamie Dixon said the NABC is “planning to formally recommend” the mandatory off day nation-wide.

The Pac-12 is also considering enacting the policy across their member schools. In a statement given to Jon Wilner of the Pac-12 Hotline and the Mercury News, the conference is meeting to discuss the potential of enacting the policy, along with other ways to support the movement for social justice.

“Over the past days, the Pac-12 has held initial discussions with student-athlete leadership and coaches across our campuses with the goal of developing a series of actions that can be taken to combat racism and support social justice.

“We have already heard many great ideas, including with regard to voting initiatives among many others, and our goal is to in short order agree upon and begin implantation of those that have the broadest support among our student-athletes and coaches.

“Such initiatives will complement those of our schools as well as any broader national initiatives that we are beginning to discuss with our conference counterparts.”

In Washington and other states that have a 100% mail-in election, the move would be largely symbolic. But that doesn’t make the policy any less important.

Voting is the most important civic duty we have in a democracy, and teaching that lesson to 18-21 year old people (and those that pay attention to them) would make the policy more than worth it. Here’s to hoping that the movement continues to gain steam, especially among conferences like the Pac-12.

Pac-12 considering time off for athletes on Election Day
Georgia Tech assistant coach Eric Reveno came up with the idea of making Election Day a mandatory day off from team activities in order to give hundreds of thousands of NCAA athletes the time to vote.

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