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Gators' Mullen: 'Wasn't a big fan NCAA doing that'


Florida had a full-team voter registration drive.

Coach Dan Mullen felt his program helped educate and inform Gators' players about their options to vote. He said they were going to vote as part of a team function.

That's not an option, and Mullen isn't happy with the NCAA's new legislation passed to mandate all student-athletes are given each election day off from any organized team activities, including next week's 2020 elections that include the contentious presidential race.

"Yeah, it's actually unfortunate to me the NCAA did this," Mullen said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. We had a lot of interesting things planned with the team. Because you have early voting. We've done a full team registration. We had a team-thing set to vote.

"Now what it does is it throws you completely off your game-week routine, which obviously to me is very dangerous. Because you're building up (to each game day)."

The No. 10 Gators (2-1) are coming off a three-week stretch without a game played on the heels of the program shutting down to a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in some 40 positive tests with the team.

Mullen doubled down on his views against the rule, noting he believes the application could be harmfully to player safety. The Gators this week host Missouri Saturday night in The Swamp before their annual rivalry clash the following week against Georgia in Jacksonville, Florida.

"You kind of have a set routine, set schedule, you practice certain ways building up to Saturday," Mullen said. "And now you can't do it. Especially here in Florida. I've already voted. I took advantage of the early voting that you have here in Florida. I think it's something I wasn't a big fan of with the NCAA doing that.

"We had a lot of things with the team planned. We had to cancel a bunch of those things we had planned. We had to kind of redo this entire schedule. It messes with your preparation, the physical preparation of the players and the safety of them getting ready for the game, it kind of messes with that. It's kind of disappointing the NCAA did that."

Not looking past Missouri, a team Mullen said received a vote from him in the Coaches' Top 25 this week, Mullen explained his squad's Georgia game week already has been adjusted.

"We've had to redo the entire week's schedule," Mullen said. "Normally we're off on Sunday, and that's a day of rest and recovery after a game. We can't do that now. We have got to go immediately into preparation for the next game. We can't do that. We're trying. Safety is No. 1 for us in our program. We have to make sure our guys are prepared and safe for the game. It's really kind of thrown that off. I'm not a big fan of that rule.

"There's plenty of opportunities for the guys to vote early. We had a lot of great things planned for our guys to be able to do that. If they want to vote on election day, heck, there's plenty of time during the day for the guys to go do that. I think they still have classes going on. They haven't cancelled classes. If there's a big panic, they probably Should have cancelled everything. Make it a national holiday. Nobody can't do school or can't do anything that day."