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NCAA acts on Tech coach Eric Reveno’s plan to give athletes election day off

Georgia Tech’s Eric Reveno. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)
Georgia Tech’s Eric Reveno. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

On Friday, the vision of Georgia Tech associate head basketball coach Eric Reveno was partially realized. And the coach was partially satisfied.

It was June 2 when Reveno, acting on Yellow Jackets guard Malachi Rice’s statement on a team videoconference call that people protesting the death of George Floyd needed to follow that up by voting, began to call for the NCAA to make election day a mandatory day off for the roughly 500,000 athletes competing at member schools.

Friday, 10 days after the first of many Reveno tweets on the topic, the NCAA’s board of governors encouraged member schools to designate this year’s Nov. 3 election day “as a day off from athletics activity so athletes can vote and participate in their ultimate responsibility as citizens.”

Reveno told the AJC Friday that he was pleased with widespread acceptance that the idea has gained across college athletics.

“I’m appreciative of them recognizing the value of the idea, and that’s what happened (Friday),” Reveno said.

However, he’s still pushing for the NCAA to not stop at recommending that member schools free athletes from athletic obligations on election day this November, but to actually make it a rule for every election day.

>> Reveno listens and is prompted to action

“I still am hopeful that it can become legislation so that the rule stays in place,” Reveno said. “You know how we all are. In two years, four years, six years, (enthusiasm will die down). Let’s have it in the rule book so we that have to keep us on track.”

The idea has been widely embraced in a matter of days. Two days after Reveno launched his proposal, nine Tech teams pledged to give their athletes this election day off.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches called on its members to make election day an annual off day for their players, and many schools have followed suit, including every men’s basketball team in the Big 12.

Friday, the MAC announced that, following the NCAA’s recommendation, it would work to move a league football game scheduled for Nov. 3 to a new date. (Reveno has also suggested that teams with scheduled competitions would be able to ask for a waiver and commit to taking a different day off with similar aims.)

Reveno’s idea has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr – a college contemporary of Reveno’s when the former played for Arizona and Reveno for Stanford – applauded the idea on Twitter.