The Pac-12 Conference announced on Wednesday a collective commitment among all 12 member programs to facilitate the registration and acquisition of mail-in ballots for all willing and eligible Pac-12 athletes prior to National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22.
The idea was initially proposed by Pac-12 football and men’s basketball head coaches and unanimously approved by the Pac-12 Council.
First-year UW head coach Jimmy Lake previously tweeted on Aug. 26 that his entire team had registered to vote.
“For many student-athletes, this is their first opportunity to participate in an election,” Lake said in a statement on Wednesday. “As members of our community, it is crucial that we not only educate our young men and women on the importance of voting and how to register, but to also help them understand the many dynamics of voting on the local and federal levels. Change will only happen if we take action. I encourage our younger generation to use their voice by exercising their right to vote.”
In June, Lake said he planned to bring in guests to educate his team on the election process. He also stated the desire to organize meetings between his players and local law enforcement “to have the uncomfortable conversations between us, and I think it’s going to be very educational for them and for us. I think the more teams that are able to do this throughout the country with their local police departments, (that) can have a huge effect on our communities, because a lot of our team is made up of minorities and men of color.
“The more education we can have to stomp out racism, so we can get our law enforcement educated, I think that will set the path for progress.”
On July 1, the Pac-12 announced a series of initial steps to promote social justice and combat racism — including the creation of a head of diversity and inclusion position, the formation of a social-justice and anti-racism advisory group comprised of athletics and academic leaders and athletes from all Pac-12 institutions, and the launch of a series of athlete and coach anti-racism virtual forums.
As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the Pac-12 announced on Aug. 11 that it would postpone its fall sports seasons at least through the end of the year.