NCAA gives student-athletes Election Day off to participate in civic engagement


The beautiful Kenan Stadium prior to Saturday’s contest between the University of North Carolina and South Florida in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on October 14, 2006. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– For the first time, the NCAA prohibits any kind of practice or competition on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 each year.

The Division I Council approved the change in September, in hopes to increase student-athletes participation in civic engagement.

“From my standpoint, it’s kind of hard to complain about things publicly if you’re not part of the process of electing the official making those choices. So I think it’s a chance to have buy-in in what you stand for and to learn about the issues all different parties represent and put your name on it. I think that’s the biggest thing,” said NC State football coach Dave Doeren.

Many college football players are happy that the NCAA gave them the day off to vote on election day.

“I do feel myself more civically engaged. I actually voted early this year. I think the NCAA did a great job by giving players the opportunity to vote even if they haven’t before,” said UNC linebacker Tomon Fox. “There’s been a lot of racial tension especially this year, I mean it’s always been around but lately it’s been wild so I think everybody has to use this opportunity to make the right decisions and o out there and help with policies.

North Carolina football coach Mack Brown appreciates the gesture to let his players get out and vote, but he wants to make sure they handle themselves professionally while doing so.

“You got half the country that’s going to vote one way. Another half is going to vote another way. You can have your vote and if you don’t vote you don’t have a right to speak,” said Brown. “But if you vote, you can be for your candidate but you really have to careful with social media now right after something happens if you have a negative response to it because your candidate doesn’t win. And it then gets you in trouble with the NFL draft it gets you in trouble with the future of getting a job.”

While the response with the ruling of no athletic activities was received well for the most part, some coaches were disappointed in the affect the day off has on their practice schedule.

“Well if I thought it was more purposeful, I would be fine with it. We have worked very hard with our team to anybody who wasn’t registered is now registered. We have worked very hard, we’ve had our people administratively in football help them get their ballots, make sure that they are voting and have voted. So I think it’s a little more showy honestly, I’ll say it like it is, then it has purpose,” said Duke football coach David Cutcliffe.

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