Weber State women's basketball Sacramento State 07 stock

Weber State women's basketball head coach Velaida Harris, center, speaks with her team during a timeout in a game against Sacramento State on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

As proposed by athletes, the Big Sky Conference announced Wednesday it will institute a day off from required athletic activity on this year’s Election Day, Nov. 3, as programs and conferences around the country move to help students be more civically involved.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, comprised of 22 athletes from across the conference (two each from the 11 full members), recommended the action and the Big Sky said in a statement Wednesday it was “unanimously approved” by athletic directors.

“(We are) excited to be advocates for change so that our athletes can freely exercise their right and privilege to vote,” said Justice Littrell, Northern Colorado football player and Big Sky SAAC chair, in a statement. “Many times, athletics is so much at the center of our lives that we forget that decisions made on Election Day will many times surpass our athletic career. Giving our athletes an opportunity to get out in the community and participate in voting without repercussions is the right thing to do, and we encourage all of our athletes to do just that. We are excited to spearhead a change that will impact athletes for years to come.”

Georgia Tech men’s basketball assistant coach Eric Reveno began pushing for a day off on Election Day in early June and the NCAA encouraged schools to do so last week. Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau says in November 2018, 49.1% of 18-24 year old respondents reported being registered to vote and 32.4% reported having voted.

“Big Sky student-athletes across all of our schools and sports are engaged and thoughtful citizens who are sincerely interested in making a meaningful difference, especially in today’s world,” conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in a statement.

Nov. 3 is one week before basketball’s regular season begins. For Weber State football, it falls in season: three days after a Halloween road trip to Idaho State and four days before a home contest against Portland State.

PLANS SET FOR HOOPS, FOOTBALL PRACTICES

The NCAA Division I Council approved a schedule to allow men’s and women’s college basketball players to begin workouts with coaches beginning July 20.

That would represent the first time since March 12 that players and coaches can come together in required activities after the 2019-20 season ended prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Basketball players typically begin voluntary workouts on July 1. The required activities beginning July 20 allows for weight training, conditioning and skills instruction for up to eight hours per week, until the first day of fall classes.

At Weber State, fall classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 24. Basketball teams then return to out-of-season workouts from then until 42 days before the first regular-season game, which falls on Sept. 30. At that point, full preseason practice begins.

Men’s basketball teams can begin their seasons as early as Nov. 10 this season.

In football, the NCAA finalized a plan to add several weeks to the preseason football schedule because most teams completed little or none of spring camp before pandemic cancellations came. Weber State completed two spring practices, for example. It’s expected to pass but still needs to be finalized by the Division I Council.

The schedule for fall camp remains unchanged; teams like Weber State who open the season Sept. 5 begin fall camp on Aug. 7.

The additional allowances for required football activities are:

July 13-23: Up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week, with no more than two hours of film review per week.

July 24-Aug. 6: Up to 20 hours per week of total activities, no more than four hours per day, as follows: up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning; up to six hours for walk-throughs, which can include use of a football; and up to six hours for meetings, including film review.

Weber State football is scheduled to open the 2020 season Sept. 5 at Wyoming.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and @WeberHQ.

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