As early voting wraps up in Texas and across the country, there are still hundreds of thousands of people making plans to cast their ballot on Election Day Tuesday. Across college athletics, we have seen universities prioritize registering to vote among their athletes, and many are taking things one step further by making Tuesday an off-day across programs, allowing student-athletes the time to vote themselves. In fact, the NCAA DI Council went so far as to mandate that Division I student-athletes will not practice and compete, among other countable athletically related activities, on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 every year. The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee proposed the legislation to provide a day each year dedicated to increasing opportunities for Division I athletes to participate in civic engagement. These include activities such as voting or community service, among others.
“The Council unanimously supports this important piece of legislation. Coming from Division I SAAC, we know it represents the voice of student-athletes across the country who continue to express a desire to increase their civic engagement at local, state and federal levels,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We look forward to seeing student-athletes use this opportunity as a way to create positive change.”
TCU has certainly done their part, ensuring that their athletes were registered through a grassroots initiative started by women’s basketball and carried throughout not only Horned Frog Athletics, but the Big 12 Conference as a whole.
While the delayed start to the winter sports season means it impacts fewer programs, the off day in the middle of a game week is kind of a big deal for football. But Gary Patterson not only supports the move, he thinks it might actually be a change he likes.
“We’ll actually have our Tuesday practice on Monday night,” Patterson said following the win over Baylor Saturday. “We’ll have to game plan like it’s a Thursday ball game, having your Tuesday practice on Monday night. I might even like it. I’m kind of interested to see what it is, because then I’ll have Tuesday off. And then you kind of get a chance to go back through your changes, like you do on an off week.”
This makes a ton of sense, as GP will get a respite after two days of work to evaluate practices and players — then have two more “full” practices before walk-through and game day. Ultimately, it might be a positive. Monday’s practice was a late one, as he reported during the Big 12’s coaches call that it would “after dark”:
TCU football will practice tonight, going from like 10 p.m. to midnight, Gary Patterson says. Players are off tomorrow to allow them to vote. Some players have class until 7:40 p.m. tonight.— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) November 2, 2020
“Have to have a late practice, and then get up the up the next morning grade it,” Patterson continued. “Then go and let these guys go vote. And then we’ll have a Wednesday day like we normally do. So I’m kind of interested to see how it will work, to be honest with you.”
Doing your civic duty is one of the best parts of living in a democracy, and encouraging young people to get involved in local and national elections is something that everyone should be invested in. I am proud of TCU Athletics and the NCAA for prioritizing it for both this year and the future.
Go Frogs and Go Vote!