The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced this past Friday that NCAA championship events will not be held in states where the Confederate flag has a “prominent presence.”
The statement targeted Mississippi, writing that it’s “the only state currently affected by the Association’s policy.” Mississippi has the only state flag that currently includes the Confederate battle emblem.
“There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression,” Michael V. Drake, chair of the NCAA board of governors and Ohio State president, said in a statement. “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.”
The rule also affected South Carolina , but in 2015, they stopped flying the Confederate flag at its state Capitol following the murder of nine members of the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston.
“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,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “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.”
The NCAA’s announcement comes just one day after the Southeastern Conference (SEC) told the state that it has to change its flag or risk losing host rights for championship events.