College athletes have used their voices to call for social change in the United States since the death of George Floyd last month sparked protests around the world. As a result, the NCAA has made suggestions to member institutions on how to encourage student-athletes to continue voicing their opinions moving forward. The NCAA understands the role of student-athletes in the national discussion.
“President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors recognize the important role social engagement has on driving positive societal change,” the NCAA said in a statement. “The recent demonstrations following the tragic killing of George Floyd showed the world the power of protest and student-athletes across the country were at the center of that movement. We commend NCAA student-athletes who recognized the need for change and took action though safe and peaceful protest. We encourage students to continue to make their voices heard on these important issues, engage in community activism and exercise their Constitutional rights.”
In addition to encouraging players to participate in peaceful protests, the NCAA has made suggestions to schools on how to help by making their voices heard at the ballot box.
“We encourage all member schools to assist students in registering to vote in the upcoming national election and designate Nov. 3, 2020 as a day off from athletics activity so athletes can vote and participate in their ultimate responsibility as citizens,” it said in a statement.
Several college football programs announced this week that they will give players the day off on Nov. 3 to vote despite it being the middle of game week for most programs. Multiple college basketball coaches also called for the day off this week.
Four Clemson football players, including star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, have organized a protest scheduled for this Saturday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. LSU coaches, players and staff will participate in a “Enough is Enough: Rally for Unity” on Friday night on its Baton Rouge campus. Florida State’s players have organized a Unity Walk that will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday from Doak Campbell Stadium to the state capitol building.
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month has resulted in Black Lives Matter protests that call for justice, social equality and an end to police brutality throughout the world. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder related to the death of Floyd.