On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the NCAA announced that all college athletes will not be participating in athletic-related activities on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 each year for Election Day. This year that Tuesday falls on Nov. 3, which will be the day that athletes have off from athletic obligations.
The movement to have Election Day off was popularized by a tweet from Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who pushed for a five-point plan for positive social change. One of the five steps was to have Nov. 3 free from athletic obligations so that athletes could make their voices heard by voting in the upcoming election.
Division I student-athletes will not practice and compete, among other countable athletically related activities, on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 every year, including the upcoming Election Day on Nov. 3: https://t.co/H9DO9hm3UI pic.twitter.com/C8mofT8AQa— NCAA (@NCAA) September 16, 2020
“It is, basically, a day off for student-athletes in Division I on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which happens to be Election Day,” said Big Sky Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) Chairman Justice Littrell in a statement posted to the NCAA Twitter page. “It is a civic engagement initiative for us because it will give an opportunity for some student-athletes to go out and vote and be the change that they want to see in this world.”
The plan was the brainchild of countless athletes across the nation, with Lawrence acting as the figurehead for the movement #OurVoiceMatters.
“It’s really important to us as SAAC because we feel like student-athletes across the nation in Division I are leaders in not only our campuses but our communities,” Littrell said. “When you look at a newspaper, a regular student is not going to make headlines for doing something good or bad, but a student-athlete always will. And that’s just because we gather attention … Being able to use that attention for good and being able to go out and help the communities and being the change that we want to see is exactly why this was proposed.”
Lawrence’s post picked up steam from numerous outlets and athletes, most notably by former Georgia Tech men’s basketball star Chris Bosh.
“2020 is about removing every obstacle between people and their right to vote,” Bosh said in his Twitter post. “That includes student-athletes.”
Littrell went on to add that this initiative is about more than just voting in the upcoming election, with athletes being able to spend their time in the community.
“It also gives student-athletes an opportunity to go out and be a service to their community,” Littrell said. “Whether that’s standing in line and making sure people are 6 feet apart this year or handing out water bottles … whatever the community needs at the polls is what we are trying to get out and do.”