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OU athletics: Joe Castiglione encourages mandatory day off for athletes, staff to vote in 2020 presidential election

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Athletic Director Joe Castiglione talks with attendees April 21, 2018.

Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione was asked Wednesday afternoon in a Zoom conference about the possibility of having student athletes taking a mandatory day off Nov. 3 for the 2020 presidential election.

"I would expand that to include staff," Castiglione said.

With the Black Lives Matter protests still the most prominent topic in the U.S., Castiglione spoke for 40 minutes discussing all things from American law enforcement under scrutiny for racial injustice to the uncertain future of a college football season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latter, however, took a great portion of the conference, as many OU student athletes and coaches have been active in the protests in Oklahoma. And with the importance of the topic, Castiglione had no problem looking almost six months into the future of American politics and seeing its importance in making a nationwide change.

"It needs to be something that everybody fulfills as a responsibility," Castiglione continued. "Especially if we're going to lead by example for our student athletes. So, I would tell you that it's not just that type of action being discussed, but what we can do to educate our student athletes and staff for that matter to the issues that are on the ballot. 

"This year, it's obvious it's going to be for electing a new president of our country. But there are a lot of other issues that are on ballots and other elections, whether they're other offices or major issues that they should be informed about so they can use their vote wisely. We want to be able to have programs in place not just to recognize the opportunity and make time for them to fulfill that right that they have to go vote, but to be better educated on how they can use their vote and what would be before them on ballots.

"I hope that this doesn't just stop with this election but that they're more involved with elections going forward."

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Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He's covered football, basketball and volleyball. 

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