Sac State student-athletes will take the day off to vote this election

SAAC, Big Sky, NCAA suspend athletic activities Nov. 3


Max Connor

The Big Sky Conference told all of its member schools to give athletes the day off Nov. 3 to allow student-athletes the opportunity to vote on Election Day. Photos by Shaun Holkko, Luis Platero and Ian Edwards. Graphic made in Canva.

Patrick Posuniak

Sacramento State’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee has given student-athletes a day free of mandatory meetings, practices, games and other sport-related activities Nov. 3 in an effort to encourage students to vote in the U.S. presidential election. 

The move came after Eric Reveno, Georgia Tech assistant men’s basketball coach, called for the Nov. 3 election date “to be a NCAA mandatory off day” in a tweet.  

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Over the summer, the Big Sky Conference stated that each institution within the conference must give its athletes the day off, according to its website

SAAC responded by including the mandatory exemption as part of Sac State’s “Buzz the Ballot” campaign, according to the Hornet Sports website. “Buzz the Ballot” was created by Associated Students, Inc. to encourage students to register to vote and remove as many barriers as possible between the student and the polls come election day, according to Sac State News.

“This was a student-led initiative,” said Isaiah Marable, sprinter for the Sac State track and field team and SAAC representative. “If everybody else is [voting], we are more likely to do it.”  

Mo Spieth, first base for the Sac State softball team and SAAC executive team member, shared some of the details of the council’s approaches within the “Buzz the Ballot” initiative.

“Some of the mechanisms that we had in place in order to encourage voter turnout amongst student athletes have been providing education on voting, how to register, and how to check your registration status,” Spieth said in a text message. “We have also had entire teams confirm all of their collective voter registrations.” 

The NCAA shared via Twitter on Sept. 16 that election-based exemptions will become mandatory for any elections falling on the first Tuesday of the month after Nov. 1. 

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“There’s a lot of really amazing things that student-athletes can do if you only invite them to the meetings,” Spieth said. “To student-athletes, there’s a lot of really amazing things that you can do if you only ask to be a part of it.”

“It’s definitely showing to people outside of sports, within sports, those in high school and those looking for college recruiting that the NCAA doesn’t just care about sports,” said Karrisa Hoffman, Sacramento State gymnast and SAAC executive team member. “They care about athletes and communities as a whole, and they just want to give us the best opportunities possible to engage with the community and have an impact in the future.”

Both the Sac State football and men’s basketball teams said that 100% of their players are registered to vote in the upcoming election via their Instagram pages. 

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“With everything going on in this crazy year, it’s the time to push this forward,” said Bryce Fowler, Sac State men’s basketball senior forward. “There’s an election coming up where you can really make a difference there.” 

Additional reporting by Estefany Nuñez.