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Notre Dame Football

Kelly, Swinney Slightly Frustrated with Mandatory Day Off

November 2, 2020

Saturday will be the biggest day in college football to this point in the 2020 season, but Tuesday's election will also be an important day. 

The NCAA mandated Tuesday to be a day off to encourage voting and allow for student-athletes to vote. 

Notre Dame and every other college football program will have to adjust on the fly as no practice on Tuesday throws them out of routine. 

In a typical week, Sunday is an off day for treatment and recovery. Mental Monday is more of a strength and conditioning day with meetings sprinkled in, but the Irish will be in pads. 

"We had to come right back in after getting off a plane at midnight and rush our players back into the building during COVID first thing in the morning to get them in the weight room, in the training room and into meetings," Kelly stated on Monday afternoon. "Less than an ideal situation. It is what it is. 

"Today, we will practice. It really makes it difficult because we're on a testing regimen that makes it difficult because we don't get all our testing back at the appropriate time. Then you're looking at adding antigen testing while you're waiting for your PCR testing."

Clemson will also alter its practice schedule this week as it's similar to  Notre Dame's as the Tigers normally have Sunday off. 

"We get our guys at four o'clock on Monday and we have always felt like we have got all of our work done," explained Swinney. "So, you miss Tuesday, so you have to get that stuff done on Sunday. It is a quick turnaround for you. You play Saturday, and it is a quick turnaround. But it is the same for every team out there. It just is what it is. So, that is really it. That is the only adjustment that you can make."

Kelly was pleased his team took the time to educate themselves, register to vote and vote earlier this fall as Notre Dame won't have many kids running to polls on Tuesday. 

"Our roster is from all over the country," explained Kelly. "For them to run out to the local polls, they won't be going over to Clay Middle School to vote tomorrow. They're not from here. As of yesterday, I think we had 90 of 114 of our players had already voted by absentee, mail-in voting. We've already encouraged them to use their voice. When we started this in terms of being socially active, part of it is to do something about being involved and making a change. They can make a change by voting. If they choose not to vote, that's their choice too. They have that right.

"When you have 90 of 114 guys voting, clearly, this was very important to them. We've prepared for that. We've been extremely active in it, so they won't be racing out to the polls tomorrow, but you may see some guys volunteer. I know we're giving out vote stickers around campus doing some things of that nature, those things that are allowable by NCAA rules and regulations."

Kelly was also open when it came to not fully understanding the NCAA's decision to make Tuesday an off day because of the lack of local kids on most college rosters. 

"There's some realities to this that make it difficult. We'll work through it. We've got 90 something players out of 114 that have already voted because really very few of our players are from this area. They're from all over the country, so they've already voted absentee. 

"They'll go to class and they'll all be banging on the door of the football building wanting to do something tomorrow. 

"It is what it is and you deal with it. I don't think there's any bad intent here. We're all kind of dealing with the times that they are and we're reacting to it." 

No. 1 Clemson will be making its first time since 1979 and Swinney was also frustrated because of the lack of local voting from his roster.

"I did not really understand the day off thing because most all of our guys will have already voted, and there will be a few here that will go vote," Swinney said. "Certainly, we will always have time to go get that done.

"But that is what they have passed, so that will definitely change things. Not just for us. It is going to be everybody.” 

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