After the murder of George Floyd and the public outcry for social justice reform, longtime college basketball coach Eric Reveno embarked on a personal mission to help his players register to vote. Reveno became the driving force behind All Vote No Play, an initiative that resulted in NCAA athletes getting Election Day off from practices and games. The trend swept to the NBA, which scheduled no games for this Nov. 8, the day of midterm elections.
All Vote No Play’s mission extends beyond voting. It’s a movement to help athletes become great teammates and citizens, using free, nonpartisan civic drills to show them how they can exercise their own power to create the future they want. Most of the 500,000 college athletes largely go overlooked by traditional civics programs and efforts, even though these students are some of the most influential people on their campuses. Three-quarters of college athletes say they want more opportunities for civic engagement, according to a 2020 NCAA survey.
What if coaches taught civic engagement to their athletes? What might that look like? What challenges exist to implement such an approach and how can they be overcome? And as eroding trust impacts the very foundation that American democratic institutions rely on to function, how might more civic-minded athletes benefit our polarized and politicized country?
- Eric Reveno, Oregon State assistant men’s basketball coach, All Vote No Play founder
- Candice Storey Lee, Vanderbilt athletic director
- John Tanner, Stanford women’s water polo coach, seven-time national champion
- Elizabeth Ford, Penn volleyball player, Penn Leads the Vote deputy director
- Jon Solomon, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program editorial director (moderator)
Future of Sports is a conversation series, hosted by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, that helps stakeholders think through key questions shaping the future of our games, the sports industry and its impact on society. Past events examined the future of football, a series on college athlete pay including the government’s role and the future of name, image and likeness rights, sports betting, athlete activism, coaching, the U.S. Olympic movement, women’s pro sports, children’s rights in sports, and the future of sports in the climate crisis. Contact Sports & Society Program Editorial Director Jon Solomon at email@example.com with questions or inquiries.
Thank you to Axios Sports for its support as media partner of the Future of Sports series.