Athletic activities at West Virginia University will be on pause on Tuesday, giving student-athletes the day off to vote in the United States general election.
The NCAA Division I Council passed legislation in September that will give student-athletes the first Tuesday following Nov. 1 each year off from any countable athletic activities. At the time, the NCAA Council said this legislation was representative of what student-athletes wanted and would be a time for increased civic engagement.
WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins said he was fully in support of the day off for his players.
“They’re hopefully the future leaders of our country,” Huggins said last Thursday. “These are guys that people look up to and I think it’s great that they have an opportunity to do the right things and learn the right things now.”
The WVU men’s basketball team is currently in the middle of 30 preseason practices ahead of the Mountaineers’ season opener on No. 25. Huggins said his team is excited for election day.
“Our guys are honestly looking forward to voting,” Huggins said. “They see the need for involvement from the average person.”
WVU football coach Neal Brown said the day off on Tuesday means they have needed to shuffle this week’s practice schedule a little bit, but he sees the importance of it.
“We’re abiding by it and I get it, voting is extremely important,” Brown said. “Most of our guys have already voted just because of mail-in. They claim their legal residence away from here so most have them have voted in their home states already. But I do get the legislation of taking election day off, especially in 2020.”
Brown said the team usually has an off day on Sundays, but for this week moved the off day to Tuesday and will have a more intense Monday practice. The Mountaineers will travel to Austin, Texas to play the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.
Polls in West Virginia will open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Information about voting in West Virginia can be found on the West Virginia Secretary of State website.