The NCAA on Friday expanded its policy banning states with prominent Confederate symbols from hosting its championship 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, prevents states from hosting what the NCAA calls predetermined championship sites, such as for men’s basketball tournament games. Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the policy.
The expanded policy means that even when sites of NCAA events are determined by performance, as they are in sports such as baseball, women’s basketball and lacrosse, Mississippi schools will not be permitted to host. Mississippi’s two Southeastern Conference schools, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State, regularly host NCAA baseball regional and super regional games.
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 the calls for change from administrators from both Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
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.
Story by Ralph D. Russo