Following several other athletic programs and a recommendation from the NCAA earlier this summer, USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn announced Thursday in a statement from the school that USC student-athletes will be given the day off from athletic activities this election day so they can exercise their right to vote.
“Through the outstanding work of the USC Athletics Black Lives Matter Action Team, consistent dialogue with the United Black Student-Athletes Association and deeper engagement with the Trojan Athletic Senate, we have collectively decided to fully embrace this voting initiative,” Bohn said in a statement. “We’ve been so inspired by the many ways in which our student-athletes have found their voice these past several months and we know how critical exercising our right to vote is to amplifying that voice. I’m also thrilled that our entire program can follow the lead of our women’s basketball program and their effort to register the entire team to vote.”
This was one of the requests from USC’s UBSAA in June, and it falls in line with a statement the NCAA released in mid-June.
“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 said. “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.”
According to USC, all 13 members of the women’s basketball program registered to vote earlier this month.
“It is important that our whole team is registered to vote this year because we know that all of our voices can make a difference,” USC junior guard and captain Desiree Caldwell said in USC’s press release announcing the decision. “It’s just about putting ourselves in a position to be heard. Now we can all do our part in influencing change in this country.”
While all Pac-12 and USC athletic competitions have been postponed until January 1 at the earliest, athletic programs are still allowed to practice and participate in meetings and strength and conditioning work. The Division I Council recently adopted a recommendation that says football teams that aren’t playing this fall but plan to compete in the spring can participate in up to 12 hours of athletics activities per week, with up to five hours per week of non-contact skill instruction. Those rules run through October 4, with the Council planning to address practice hours for the rest of the year at a later date.