EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP football will pause their preparation for Saturday’s game against FIU on Tuesday in order to take part in Election Day. The NCAA passing legislation in September to make Election Day a mandatory off day to promote civic engagement.
“The NCAA felt it was important for the players to have the opportunity to have tomorrow off to focus on getting out and being involved in voting,” said UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel. “If you’ve already voted it’s just being involved in what’s going on in your country. That was my message to them after practice: if you haven’t voted yet, get out tomorrow and vote.”
The Miners (3-3, 0-2) are currently scheduled to host the Panthers (0-3, 0-1) on Saturday at Sun Bowl Stadium, although the game could be relocated due to the shutdown issued by El Paso County last week. While it is not ideal to take an off day with so much uncertainty clouding the program, Dimel believes it is part of the development of players to encouraged them to vote.
“It’s the freedom to be able to express your opinion on who should run our country in many different avenues. It’s not just the presidential avenue,” said Dimel. “For them to get out and vote and establish that habit at a young age as being someone who gets out and votes — I think that’s really important and I talked to them about it. It’s about getting out and expressing yourself out there in the world and what you want to see happen.”
While most fans see them as potential game-changers on the field, Tuesday’s off day gives student-athletes the opportunity to be game-changers off the field as well.