NCAA calling for no championships in states with Confederate flag

The power of sports is being able to take a human rights issue and turn it into a sports issue as a means of forcing change.

That’s what happened when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey took a stand against the state flag in Mississippi on Thursday, prompting the NCAA to double down on Friday.

Today, the board of governors announced the ban of all championship events in Mississippi as long as the Confederate emblem is included on the Mississippi state flag.

Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the association’s policy.

Previously, the NCAA blocked championship sites determined in advance in states that displayed the Confederate flag.

Long story short, the Southern Miss, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss baseball programs would no longer be considered for Regional or Super Regional host sites. And what about the MSU women’s basketball team, a recent host for early round NCAA Tournament games?

The SEC was the first to announce it would no longer allow conference championship events to take place in Mississippi as a means of protesting the Confederate emblem.

Mississippi’s Public Universities put out a joint statement today in support of the NCAA’s decision at the risk of the state losing out on millions of dollars with the ban.

Here’s part of that statement: “Today we are committed to continuing to do our part to ensure Mississippi is united in its pursuit of a future that is free of racism and discrimination. Such a future must include a new state flag, we look forward to a time when Mississippi’s state flag unites Mississippians rather than divide us.”

Southern Miss Athletic Director Jeremy McClain in full agreement: “I fully support this statement from our higher education leaders throughout the state of Mississippi. It is time to make this long overdue change and allow us as Mississippians to pursue a brighter future together.”

Then Conference USA Commissioner Judy Macleod today: “Our board of directors pledges to conduct a process to review our championships hosting policies in order to ensure we provide environments that align with our continued mission to support and protect our student-athletes.”

Back to the original statement from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey: “It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the state of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Finally NCAA Board Chair Michael V. Drake: “There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression. We must continually evaluate ways to protect and enhance the championship experience for college athletes. Expanding the Confederate flag policy to all championships is an important step by the NCAA to further provide a quality experience for all participants and fans.”

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