Following athletes, NCAA takes aim at Confederate flag
Emboldened by the athletes it serves, the NCAA is taking another stand on a social issue.
The NCAA on Friday expanded its policy banning states with prominent Confederate symbols from hosting its sponsored events, one day after the Southeastern Conference made a similar declaration aimed at the Mississippi state flag.
The current NCAA ban, in place since 2001, applies to what the NCAA calls predetermined sites, such as for men's basketball tournament games.
Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the policy. The expanded ban - supported by all eight public universities in the state - means that even when sites of NCAA events are determined by performance, as they are in baseball, women's basketball and softball, Mississippi schools will not be permitted to host.
''We must do all we can to ensure that NCAA actions reflect our commitment to inclusion and support all our student-athlete. There can be no place within college sports where any student-athlete is demeaned or unwelcome,'' NCAA President Mark Emmert said....
Five years ago, the NCAA took a stand for LGBTQ rights, invoking a similar ban on predetermined sites for its events in states that passed laws aimed at limiting protections for people in those communities. North Carolina's so-called HB2 law led to NCAA men's basketball tournament games being played in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2017 instead of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Only two years earlier, South Carolina had come off the NCAA's banned list for predetermined sites when it removed the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol.
... Mississippi has the last state flag that includes the battle emblem: a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars. White supremacists put the symbol on the flag in 1894 during the backlash to black political power that developed during Reconstruction.
The flag has not flown on the campuses of any of the state's eight public universities in years.
On Thursday, the SEC announced it would no longer hold conference-sponsored championship events in Mississippi until the state flag is changed. The move came with calls for change from administrators at both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but lacked real consequences. None of the SEC's high-profile events are held in Mississippi.
But both schools consistently field highly ranked baseball teams and host NCAA tournament games. Mississippi State's women's basketball team has hosted early round NCAA games four times since 2010....
In a joint statement, the presidents and chancellors of Mississippi's public institutions vowed to work to change the state flag....