By Cooper Baskins, OMN Photographer
Recognizing the collaborative efforts of coaches, staff, student leaders, and OSU leadership, Oregon State Athletics has recently announced that they had over 99% of their student-athletes register to vote in the 2020 election cycle.
On Sept. 16 of this year, the NCAA required that every Division 1 program give their athletes the day off from practice or competitions to observe Election Day on Nov. 3, a brand new policy implemented just this year. The PAC-12 also made the commitment to provide facilitation for voter registration and acquisition of mail-in ballots.
Recognizing the importance of voter turnout at elections, and the larger importance of being educated while voting, Oregon State Athletics worked with their various programs over Zoom to educate student-athletes, as well as to help each athlete register for their home state in time to vote in today’s election.
The result, according to Oregon State’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development Kimya Massey, was nearly 100% of Oregon State athletes registering to vote.
“We just had a few student-athletes who weren’t able to register in their home states by the deadlines. But overall, we are extremely proud of them for exercising their civic duty,” Massey said.
In celebration of the high voter registration, Massey gave praise to Oregon State coaches across the board, saying that every Beavers coach helped with the educational process and gave support to each athlete registering to vote.
“What this means to the OSU community is that we have student-athletes who are engaged in what is happening in this community, this state, and our country,” Massey said. “It’s great to see, as I cannot recall ever being at an institution with so many student-athletes and students in general who are registered to vote.”
Encouraged by the high turnout of voter registration among Oregon State athletes, Massey made sure to note that the push made by the NCAA and the university to get their student-athletes registered will not be a one-time thing.
“Yes, we do plan on continuing to offer voter education to our student-athletes moving forward,” Massey said. “This election cycle is definitely unprecedented but there are elections every year that impact our community and state and we feel it’s important that students are engaged and educated on making decisions that will impact them and the futures of others around them.”
Massey believes that the extra effort put in by Oregon State to encourage participation in the election has paid off, saying that he has noticed more student-athletes invested in the election process.
“More so, we have more individuals who are invested in the process and understand why their vote is important,” Massey said. “That’s a really important message and it gives students a sense of value in terms of contributing to society. That is so important and so powerful. All of our education centered on the process of voting and how the government works at multiple levels. Students then have the ability to vote based on their own values and principles and beliefs.”
Results for the 2020 election on a national level are expected to start being reported by 3 p.m., with the final time to cast ballots in Oregon set for 8 p.m on Nov. 3.