You can either allow college athletes the opportunity to perform their civic duty, or you can do it for the kids. Guess which is the popular option for college football on Election Day.
Last September, amid a raging pandemic, a contentious presidential election and a social justice movement that extended to college campuses, the NCAA approved a historic measure, mandating that schools hold no practice or competition on Election Day each year moving forward.
But a year later, on Election Day 2021, dozens of schools are holding required activities for athletes after having NCAA waivers approved during a process that some feel is unfair, disappointing and further proof that the policy needs further examining…
As the organization that proposed the Election Day legislation last year, SAAC oversaw the waiver process, Cassidy says, deciding to give programs a “grace period” since the legislation is only 14 months old. As many as 15 waivers were approved, he says, some of which were “full-conference” waivers. Waivers were mostly granted to avoid scheduling issues, specifically for sports that are in the postseason, such as soccer and cross country.
Yet, many schools received waivers to hold football and basketball practices on Tuesday, an issue some administrators believe creates an unequal playing field and defeats the purpose of the legislation, originally meant for athletes to vote, learn about the voting process and/or engage in voter education within their communities. One athletic director estimated that more than half of the 130-member FBS received a waiver. Another put the number at “at least 100” schools.
It’s amazing anybody takes the NCAA’s gestures seriously. Its members sure don’t.