As student-athletes across the country become more outspoken about racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, the Big 12 men’s basketball coaches announced on Friday that Election Day will be a mandatory off day.
. ' . pic.twitter.com/eVt8Q1aHZU— Shaka Smart (@HookEmSmart) June 12, 2020
Signed by each of the conference’s ten men’s basketball coaches, the statement reads, “This is a movement, not a moment. We are committed to using our platform to make a lasting difference and help bring an end to racism.
“We are united in our decision to make Election Day a mandatory off day for Big 12 men’s basketball players. We will take action to encourage the young men we mentor to register and exercise their right to vote.
“While this is only one small step, we are committed to taking further action and standing up for those who are suffering from racism.”
The statement came out shortly after the NCAA announced its own recommendations to make Election Day a mandatory off day for student-athletes.
“We encourage all member schools to assist students in registering to vote in the upcoming national election and designate Nov. 3, 2020 as a day off from athletics activity so athletes can vote and participate in their ultimate responsibility as citizens,” the NCAA said in a statement.
Several college football programs have made similar announcements already. For Texas football, Election Day precedes a road game against Kansas.