Results have already been filed for the 2020 election, but this year’s battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump may be the most critical time in recent American history.

Student-athletes play a vital role in the voting process, serving as leaders both on and off their respective playing fields. The All State asked former and current athletes of APSU what they believed the importance of voting was.

Shelby Darnell, APSU women’s golf:

“I have been involved in the political process since before I even fully knew what it was. It was instilled in me by my mother who has always been heavily involved in local and state campaigns. As a child, I can remember knocking on doors and handing out flyers supporting candidates. Now, of age, I take my vote seriously. It is a fundamental right, and I believe it is a duty of all Americans. We have a duty to our country and to ourselves to choose the leaders in government that most closely represent our view and beliefs, but also those that have the best interests of the country as a whole in mind. As college students, we can make a difference in this election with our vote.

“I encourage my friends to research the issues and vote according to their own opinions and not the learned biases they have developed from other people. The future of this country lies squarely in our hands. Get involved, let your voice be heard. In this election, we will decide for our own future. It is important to note that not voting is in fact a vote. By choosing not to vote, you play a game of chance with your own future. I, for one, do not like those odds. I will choose to speak for myself at the ballet box.”

Gybson Roth, APSU women’s soccer

“I think it’s important for not only athletes, but for everyone to get out and vote. It’s a way to use your voice for people who can’t, because voting is honestly a huge priority, and it’s a privilege to be able to vote.

“Local elections are really important as well. Voting in local representatives who are going to directly impact your immediate community…I think that’s really important. Just being able to voice your concerns and do something about that is a huge thing.”

Drew Dudley squats before a pitch in the Red and Black World Series. BLAINE KELLAR | THE ALL STATE
Drew Dudley prepares for a pitch in the Red and Black World Series.

Drew Dudley, APSU softball

“As athletes, its easy to become so engulfed in our sport and academics that we forget what we are actually preparing for, the real world. We spend years here at Austin Peay developing our identity, building our foundation and finding our voices to help become contributing Americans. Voting is a great way to use what we’ve learned thus far to influence the society we are about to set foot in. If I’ve been preparing for the world the past four years, why would I waste the opportunity to influence how that world could look?

“Our voices can be heard on a magnitude of levels, so simply encouraging our peers to vote, no matter their political views, is a great way that athletes can embrace our role. I also think that the stigma surrounding political views is so harsh that we could help soften that blow. On a team, you learn to respect others no matter their beliefs, appearances, or behaviors. In this world, I think we need a little more acceptance and a little less judgement. I love my neighbor, whether I agree with them or not.”

Shaun Whittinghill, APSU football

“Student-athletes have an amazing platform that most people do not have and a lot of student-athletes are aware of this, which is why they are so vocal concerning issues that arise within their communities. They do an amazing job of bringing issues to the attention of members of their communities. However, it must not stop here. Student-athletes must exercise their right to vote to ensure steps are taken to enact the positive changes that they are so vocal about.”

Alec Woodard, APSU men’s basketball

“I feel it is important to vote, because it gives us as athletes a voice. Athletes can be heard through voting and speaking up about what we believe, which is a great thing to have in today’s time.”

Myah LeFlore, APSU women’s basketball

“I just think it’s important for student-athletes to get out there and vote. In the past, younger generations haven’t had the best voter turnout in general. We’re all young athletes here, so just us getting out to those polls and allowing our voice to be heard is important.

“From the leadership perspective, student-athletes hold a lot of leadership on campus and in the community. Once you’re seeing student-athletes going out there to the polls to vote or letting people know that they are voting, people will follow in that example…It’s especially a testament to what we can do right now to insight change later in the future.”