What is #AllVoteNoPlay Day?

In September, 2020, the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee passed legislation to provide a day each year dedicated to increasing opportunities for Division I athletes to participate in civic engagement. This day will be the first Tuesday after November 1st each year. As shared by the NCAA, “These include activities such as voting or community service, among others.”

What does engagement on this day look like?

This guide builds on a growing consensus of scholars and organizations, including a broad coalition called Civxnow and in research like this, that civics and civic learning is more than just memorizing the three branches of government. Namely, it consists of:

  • Civic knowledge: Understanding of processes of government, prevalent political ideologies, civic and constitutional rights, and the history and heritage of the above.

  • Civic values and dispositions: Appreciation for civil discourse, free speech, and engaging with those whose perspectives differ from their own.

  • Civic behaviors: Development of civic agency and confidence to vote, volunteer, attend public meetings, and engage with their communities.

This resource of drills is focused on helping to bridge the concepts of civic engagement with concrete activities. This includes, but is not limited to, voting. It also includes community service, service leadership, and making positive contributions to your campus, neighborhood, or your home community. Civic engagement can happen in micro-moments and in large movements. Everyone, regardless of documentation status, citizenship, or nationality, is capable of civic engagement.

"It is called 'civic engagement' day off, not 'election day off.' It’s about doing whatever we can as leaders in our community. If we can go out in our community and use our platforms and really help propel our community forward--that's what this day is for." -- Justice Litrell, SAAC committee member, former football player at the University of Northern Colorado

Do my athletes really want this?

A compelling recent NCAA study found that over 75% of students actively wanted more civic engagement. Investing in civic engagement that helps your students feel more connected to each other and their community strengthens their commitment to their team and their teammates.

And, research suggests that students engaged in civic action, which might include service learning, community action, or volunteering do better in school, have more fulfilling careers, contribute more positively to their communities, and live more fulfilling lives. Some of that research can be found here: College, Career, and Civic Readiness through Civic Engagement.

What is a “civic drill”?

Just as athletic drills help athletes build skills and mastery in their sport, the “civic drills” are intended to help students grow their individual and collective confidence in their ability to practice positive civic habits.This concept is rooted in research by Tufts Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) demonstrating that civic behavior and engagement are skills, behaviors, and dispositions that can be “grown” over time, much like other literacies and developmental areas. See here for more on the research and mindset of “growing voters.”

How were these drills selected?

The drills listed in this guide were created with and for student-athletes and coaches to be fun, engaging, and relevant to your team. We tried to stay away from the “eye-rolling”, check-list stuff that turns students off to getting engaged.That said, you can always use this playbook as a jumping-off point to inspire your own ideas for drills that you know will be a hit with your students!

What are best practices for doing these activities? How do I make this fun, relevant, and impactful?

It helps to start with yourself - how do you model and support civic mindset? If that feels hard, consider reflecting on and sharing the story of why you got into coaching. Coaching is a form of helping students become the best version of themselves, which is how we know you’re perfectly positioned to help lead your student-athletes in growing their own civic mindsets.

What do you mean by “nonpartisan”?

Everything listed in this guide is designed to be nonpartisan. That means there are no political points of view or opinions on current events embedded in the program, other than the belief that all young people are capable of shaping the communities they want to be a part of.

How do I ensure that my international students get something out of this?

Teaching civic mindsets, behaviors, and habits is important for all athletes, regardless of nationality. Because these drills are largely about who we are as people, what we believe, what’s important to us, and how we interact positively and empathetically with others and the world around us, they’re relevant to every student.

I want more civic resources. Where can I go?

Have another question? Contact us here.