NCAA Student-Athletes Given Day Off for Election Day

NCAA Division I council recently approved legislation intended to encourage student-athletes to use Election Day to focus on important matters away from competition

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The SMU Mustangs are in the midst of another splendid season. But this Tuesday, and every other first Tuesday following November 1 each year, Ford stadium will remain quiet and empty. No practices. No games. And no complaints from head football coach Sonny Dykes.

"I think that's part of our job as educators is not just to coach our guys about football but also coach them on life," said Dykes. "Certainly we're not telling them who to vote for or what their political beliefs should be but we're encouraging them to get involved and to make their voices heard."

Making their voices heard by voting or the way many people have done so during a turbulent 2020 that's brought the fight for social justice to the forefront of society.

"I feel like this is a big opportunity," said TCU cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. "For us to go out and make the change because it's time for a change and we're ready for it to happen and things like this have to happen."

The NCAA is hoping to inspire its student-athletes to become more aware of the importance of civic engagement.

"I think it's huge," said University of North Texas quarterback Jason Bean. "I think this is kind of the first time that the schools have done this you know right now it's the time that we need it more than ever you know voting is a really big thing and I think it should be taken very seriously and I honestly think it's amazing that they're giving us the day off just to go vote."

"Young people feel empowered," added Dykes. "And young people feel, feel like they have something to say and I think we're all much wiser if we take some time and listen to what they have to say and not only what they have to say, but why they have to say that."

A reminder that student-athletes aren't only potential game-changers on the field. But also off it.

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