The football programs at Washington State and the University of Washington will face each other at Martin Stadium in less than four weeks.
But on Tuesday and in the weeks leading up to it, the programs were united on at least one agenda item: getting student- athletes to vote.
“We understand the rivalry, (but) I think there’s certain things that are bigger,” Cougars coach Nick Rolovich said on a video conference earlier this week, “and getting all of our kids educated on the voting process, maybe even that is a valuable life lesson.”
Rolovich credited Washington coach Jimmy Lake for starting the registration conversation at a conference-wide level earlier in the fall, when there was uncertainty over whether the Pacific-12 Conference would play football at all this season.
The coaches – both of whom will coach their teams in a game for the first time this Saturday – raised the issue at Pac-12 meetings, Rolovich said.
The conference pushed the hashtag “PacThePolls.”
All 12 athletic departments encouraged students to get registered and to vote in Tuesday’s elections.
WSU’s athletic department collaborated with WSU’s systemwide “Cougs Vote” initiative to provide information about voter registration.
The “Cougs Vote” website included links to each state’s registration information, including the deadlines to do so.
“The administration here has done a nice job with not just the football team,” Rolovich said. “Every student-athlete that was eligible was given a ton of information on the process, and I think it was good for the whole department to get behind it.”
Lake told reporters in late October that the entire UW football team was registered to vote and he brought in a group to talk about the history of voting.
“We really just talked about the importance of voting and how we can’t take it for granted,” Lake said.
“I think the team was definitely listening.”
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