Nine Georgia Tech athletic teams have committed to not hold mandatory athletic activities on election day to encourage student-athletes and staff members to exercise their right to vote.
According to the Tech athletics website, the nine teams that have pledged to not hold mandatory athletic activities Nov. 3 include men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, volleyball, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s indoor track and field and women’s indoor track and field. Additionally, Georgia Tech women’s swimming and diving has a competition scheduled for that date, but is actively working with its opponent to reschedule the event.
“I am very proud of our student-athletes and coaches for identifying a great way that they can take action to make a difference in our communities and society,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said. “As part of our mission of developing young people in all aspects of their lives, I feel that it is our responsibility to provide student-athletes with an environment that promotes civic duty. Through our Total Person Program, we will educate student-athletes on how to register to vote and provide them with resources that will allow them to gain a greater understanding of the issues before they fill out their ballots. I applaud everyone that is a part of this initiative.”
Women’s basketball head coach Nell Fortner and men’s basketball head coach Josh Pastner led the initiative to refrain from mandatory athletic activities on Election Day following discussions with their student-athletes. Men’s basketball associate head coach Eric Reveno has drawn praise for his efforts to promote Election Day as an off day for student-athletes nationwide.
Other Georgia Tech teams and head coaches quickly joined the movement. For many teams, the off day will come during the heart of preparation for upcoming competitions. Notably, Georgia Tech football hosts Duke on Saturday, Nov. 7, volleyball faces Miami (Fla.) and Florida State that same weekend, and swimming and diving has two meets scheduled for that week.
“In light of recent events, our team has had very real and meaningful conversations about how we can make a difference in our communities and in our nation," head football coach Geoff Collins said. "One of those ways is to take a day that we would normally dedicate to preparing for our upcoming game and, instead, taking Tuesday, November 3 off to ensure that our student-athletes and staff have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. My hope is that this will encourage our entire organization to participate in the most important part of citizenship in our democracy.”
“This is a time to come together and educate ourselves, learn and vote. I am proud of the American people for coming together and voicing what we believe is right," said head volleyball coach Michelle Collier. "We need to do better as a nation, and voting is one of the most powerful ways for our voices to be heard. I am all for our team being able to have the opportunity to make a difference on November 3.”
Added swimming and diving head coach Courtney Shealy Hart, “I’m thrilled to be able to join with our coaches at Georgia Tech and pledge to give our swimmers and divers Election Day off to go vote. Voting is still our most valued responsibility, and we as coaches can easily emphasize the importance of our student-athletes’ voices by supporting their right to vote and encouraging them to be heard.”