NCAA encouraging all member schools to give student-athletes Election Day off to exercise right to vote

0 Comments

One of the most powerful rights we have in this country is the right to vote.  The NCAA is doing what it can to encourage the exercising of it.

In the days and weeks since the murder of George Floyd, millions upon millions have spoken out amidst peaceful protests — some that have devolved into riots — against police brutality and racial inequality.  Included in that have been student-athletes, football players in particular, who seemingly have developed a voice that’s more powerful, more impactful than ever before.

Missouri ended a peaceful march earlier this month with its football players registering to vote.  LSU this week announced that it would help all of its football players register to vote.  In between, schools from UCLA and Georgia Tech and others have done the same.

In the midst of all of the tumult, a growing voice has called for the NCAA to give student-athletes Election Day, Nov. 3 this year, off.  To exercise that right.

While the NCAA can’t force its member institutions to do so, they can strongly suggest it.  Which, to The Association’s credit, they have done.  At a lightning pace, relatively speaking, for what’s normally a snail-like organization.

In a statement, the NCAA has encouraged all members to give athletes Election Day off.  Below is the NCAA’s message, in its entirety:

President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors recognize the important role social engagement has on driving positive societal change. 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. 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.

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

minnesota football
Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck had his contract extended Wednesday by an additional year with a $1 million raise in annual salary, after the latest round of big spending by Big Ten rivals.

The new seven-year deal will run through the 2029 season, the university announced without releasing terms. Fleck will now make $6 million per year, a person with knowledge of the contract confirmed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.

Last week, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule and Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell to put them in the top tier of head coach compensation in the conference. In terms of average annual value, the 42-year-old Fleck is eighth in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rhule, Fickell, Penn State’s James Franklin, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. All seven of those coaches make $7 million or more per season.

The Gophers (8-4) play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. They’re 3-0 in bowl games under Fleck, who was hired away from Western Michigan in 2017.

Minnesota tied for second place in the Big Ten West Division this year, behind Purdue. Fleck is 43-27 overall with the Gophers, including 26-26 in conference play. They’re 0-6 against Iowa and 3-3 against Wisconsin, their primary rivals.

Fleck’s winning percentage is third-best in program history among coaches with 45 games or more, behind Henry Williams (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (1932-41).

“What P.J. and his staff have done in a short amount of time is remarkable,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement distributed by the university. “He has recruited and developed some of the best student-athletes to ever play at Minnesota and his team continues to excel academically, athletically and socially.”

This is the fifth time in six years on the job that Fleck’s deal has been adjusted to keep up with the competition, as power conference coach contracts these days rarely have less than five years on them at any time. Minnesota extended his deal a year ago, too.

In that iteration of his contract, the termination fees Fleck would owe Minnesota if he were to hop to another program were bumped way up. Those numbers landed at $7 million in 2023, $5 million in 2024, $4 million in 2025 and $3 million in 2026. Details about those figures in the new deal were not immediately available.

Virginia players granted extra year of eligibility

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. A former player at the school, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is facing three counts of second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, and student Marlee Morgan were injured in the shooting.

Virginia canceled its final two games of the season after the shooting, and the team and university community memorialized the victims in a nearly two-hour service on campus. Team members also traveled to each of the three funerals held for their teammates.