The NCAA released a statement Friday encouraging schools to designate Election Day as a day off from athletics and to help students register to vote.
The statement follows decisions from Georgia Tech and the America East Conference to give athletes Election Day off to make it easier for them to vote.
While college athletes have traditionally stayed silent on political issues, they began to speak out after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis.
"We encourage students to continue to make their voices heard on these important issues, engage in community activism and exercise their constitutional rights," the NCAA statement reads. "Further, we encourage all member schools to assist students in registering to vote in the upcoming national election and designate November 3, 2020 as a day off from athletics activity so athletes can vote and participate in their ultimate responsibility as citizens."
In 2019, 56% of Division I men's basketball players and 49% of Division I football players were black, according to the NCAA's demographics database.
But it's often difficult for athletes to find time to go to the polls because of mandatory practices or games on Election Day, on top of classes.
While the NCAA has not mandated giving Election Day off, its statement could lead to more schools adopting that as a policy.
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