Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle announced Tuesday that no athletic activities will take place on Election Day, which is Nov. 3, to encourage voting.
The university’s administration, coaches and the student-athlete advisory committee all supported giving athletes that day off and helping them register to vote,
“Our student-athletes are the leaders of tomorrow and there is no better way to make sure their voice is heard than by voting on November 3,” Coyle said in a news release.
This summer the NCAA encouraged — but didn’t mandate — its member schools to designate Nov. 3 a day off for their student-athletes. On Wednesday, the Division I Council will vote on that proposal.
In June, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren officially launched the league’s Voter Registration Initiative across 14 member schools, to go along with an Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition in the wake of protests and activism following the death of George Floyd.
“Empowering our student-athletes by encouraging them to use their voices illustrates how we can collectively work together to build a better future,” Warren said then.
Gophers senior associate AD Peyton Owens, who is on the Big Ten’s voter registration committee, said Warren spoke during his visit to Minnesota in February about establishing the leaguewide program to engage athletes in voting opportunities.
“He said this is something we’re going to be intentional about working on this with our student-athletes,” Owens said.
“This is not going to be a moment. It’s going to be a movement.”
Purdue and Northwestern also announced this week they were giving their athletes Nov. 3 off.
Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez said in June that Badgers athletes would be able to skip activities on Election Day.