The Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams were ready to announce something important Tuesday, just in time for Voter Registration Day:
Both teams are 100% registered to vote this year.
The push to encourage athletes to exercise their right to vote has been stronger than ever this fall. The NCAA and the Big Ten announced last week that Election Day on Nov. 3 would be free from athletic activities to allow athletes to fill out their ballots for this year’s general election.
“The biggest thing we need our guys to understand is to go out and register to vote,” Gophers men’s hoops coach Richard Pitino told the Star Tribune recently. “There is no excuse there. We’ve talked to them about how to do it. The biggest thing is you educate them and get them to understand the process. Obviously, it’s great the NCAA set aside (time) they will have off to do that. I know our guys are really excited.”
A Coaches Voter Task Force, made up of 120 college basketball coaches across the country,teamed up to encourage their players and teams to register to vote this year to help make changes toward social injustice and racial inequality.
Representing Minnesota on the task force are Gophers director of basketball Ryan Livingston and Minnesota State Mankato head coach Matt Margenthaler. On the women’s side, Gophers assistant Carly Thibault has been involved in national programs as well.
The NABC posted Tuesday afternoon that 83 percent of Division I programs, including 16 conferences signed up all of their teams to the Coaches Voter Engagement Pledge to support athlete voting.
Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle said before the NCAA's decision last week that he wanted to have no team activities on Election Day.
“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 honor of #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, we're happy to say that the entire team and staff is registered to vote!— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) September 22, 2020
We're encouraging everyone to do the same and commit to making their voice heard.
➡️ https://t.co/mk7QYHZBXC#B1GVote pic.twitter.com/Joss6yCq62