(WDVM) — The NCAA board of governors announced on Friday that it is expanding its policy banning states that prominently display the confederate flag from hosting it’s sponsored events.
Prior to today’s announcement, and since 2001, the NCAA’s confederate flag policy prevented states from hosting NCAA predetermined sites, such as men’s basketball tournament games, but still allowed states to host games that were determined by performance as they are in sports such as baseball and women’s basketball.
“Competing in an NCAA championship is a special experience for college athletes who compete at the highest level and we are grateful for the college athlete voice leading to this decision,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We must do all we can to ensure that NCAA actions reflect our commitment to inclusion and support all our student-athletes. There can be no place within college sports where any student-athlete is demeaned or unwelcome.”
Per the NCAA, Mississippi is the only state that is effected by the ban, and the news of the expanded policy comes on the heels of SEC commissioner Greg Sankey’s statement about Mississippi’s state flag in which he said “It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi.” Sankey also warned that the SEC will consider not hosting championship games in the state if changes to the flag were not made.
The original policy was revisited in 2014 at the request of the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee but nothing was changed until Friday.
“There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression,” said NCAA board chair and president of the Ohio State University, Michael V. Drake. “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.”