Bethune-Cookman football players recently — as a group — participated in the most important game of the season.
As described by head coach Terry Sims, about 45 players traveled down to the local Daytona Beach polling facility and voted last week ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
“We marched down as a team down to the polls. That’s something that we take very seriously,” said Sims. “Every spring, anytime they have voter registration, we have people come in to get all my guys signed up. Obviously, it’s their choice, but we encourage it.”
Professional sports leagues and college athletic programs have encouraged fans and athletes to use Election Day to vote in their respective communities while amplifying the importance of civic engagement.
HBCU football coaches have been no different in delivering that message to their players.
“We all get caught up in the microcosm of football and everything we’re trying to do because we have a tight schedule every week. But it’s something that you definitely talk to them about it,” said Alabama State head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. “You know, a lot of those young men are away from home. And sometimes you don’t feel the importance of voting because you’re part of this community or that community.
“But we realize it, especially when you’re in Montgomery, so it’s the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. I think it is something you have to talk about and I encourage the kids to do it.”
The youngest voters — those aged 18-21 years — are showing up in higher numbers in what is described as six key states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nevada) that will decide the balance of power in the U.S. compared to this point during the 2018 general election, according to CNN.
No HBCU football coach can understand the gravity of what Election Day means more than Larry Scott.
Working in the shadow of the nation’s political capital in Washington D.C., the Howard head coach explained he wants to ensure the team is “politically charged” to act.
“That is (voting) something that is being discussed and talked about,” he said. “That is something we will deal with as a team and as a program about this important event and the significance of that and the impact that has.”