Georgia Tech’s athletic department said Thursday that it won’t have fall sports activities on Tuesday, Nov. 3 to help ensure that all athletes and staffers have a chance to go vote.
Nine sports teams are pledging not to hold mandatory athletic activities on that day to give those involved a chance to vote in person. While the women’s swim and dive team has a meet scheduled for Nov. 3, the school said it was working to move the day of that competition.
The teams included in the pledge include both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the football team. Georgia Tech plays Duke on Nov. 7.
“I am very proud of our student-athletes and coaches for identifying a great way that they can take action to make a difference in our communities and society,” Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “As part of our mission of developing young people in all aspects of their lives, I feel that it is our responsibility to provide student-athletes with an environment that promotes civic duty. Through our Total Person Program, we will educate student-athletes on how to register to vote and provide them with resources that will allow them to gain a greater understanding of the issues before they fill out their ballots. I applaud everyone that is a part of this initiative.”
The move obviously benefits Georgia residents and those registered in the state who will have the opportunity to go vote in person on that day. Any students who are registered out of state would have to vote early or via an absentee ballot and statements from coaches highlighted the encouragement for out-of-state athletes to do their part too.
“In light of recent events, our team has had very real and meaningful conversations about how we can make a difference in our communities and in our nation,” Georgia Tech football coach Geoff Collins said. “One of those ways is to take a day that we would normally dedicate to preparing for our upcoming game and, instead, taking Tuesday, November 3 off to ensure that our student-athletes and staff have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. My hope is that this will encourage our entire organization to participate in the most important part of citizenship in our democracy.”
Georgia Tech’s move to free up Election Day for its athletes comes a day after over 60 Missouri athletes registered to vote after a march to the Boone County, Missouri, courthouse. The players were joined by coaches and Missouri and Columbia leaders, and all participants in the march took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd when they got to the courthouse.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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