Mississippi schools can't host any NCAA championship events after NCAA broadens Confederate flag policy
Mississippi schools that have the right to host an NCAA championship event with a successful season cannot play these games at home until the state flag is changed.
The NCAA expanded its Confederate flag policy on Friday, and Mississippi is the only state affected by the change because the flag is present on its state flag.
Before Friday, the long-standing NCAA flag rule prevented the state from being able to host things like NCAA men's basketball tournament games and other title events that the board of directors gave on a set basis. Now events like baseball and softball regionals - basically any event in a post-season location that depends on a team's success in the regular season - are also prohibited in the state.
Both Ole Miss and the State of Mississippi hosted the baseball regionals in 2019, and the Mississippi State women's basketball team is one of the best in the country. MSU women's basketball has regularly hosted first and second round NCAA tournament games.
"There is no place in college athletics or in the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression," said Michael Drake, Ohio State President and NCAA CEO, in a statement. “We need to continuously explore ways to protect and improve the championship experience for college athletes. Extending the Confederate flag to all championships is an important step for the NCAA to provide a high quality experience for all participants and fans. "
The NCAA ban was first imposed in 2001 and includes 90 title events in 24 sports.
"Participating in an NCAA championship is a special experience for college athletes who compete at the highest level and we are grateful for the voice of the college athletes that led to this decision," said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “We have to do everything we can to ensure that the NCAA measures reflect our commitment to inclusion and support all of our student athletes. There can be no place in university sports where a sports student is humiliated or undesirable. "
Mississippi State Sports Director John Cohen said in a statement that it "is unfortunate that our hard-working student athletes, staff, and coaches may be affected by something that is beyond their control, but we understand that this is a lot is bigger than athletics. "
7:24 p.m. - June 19, 2020
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Mississippi can no longer host baseball or softball regions. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)
The SEC put pressure on the state on Thursday
The NCAA's policy expansion follows after the SEC asked Mississippi to change the state flag. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both members of the conference, and Commissioner Greg Sankey said it was "time to change the state of Mississippi."
Sankey said in his statement that the SEC would consider preventing the state from hosting conference title events if the flag is not changed.
His testimony was supported by both Ole Miss and the Mississippi State. The recoil against the Mississippi state flag came when Confederate monuments across the country were torn down and students from numerous schools requested the renaming of buildings and facilities named after segregationists and slave owners.
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Nick Bromberg is an author for Yahoo Sports.
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