The NCAA Board of Governors has expanded the association’s Confederate flag policy and will no longer allow schools in Mississippi to host any round of a championship event on campus, even if their tournament seeding or ranking otherwise entitled them to host.
The previous policy only prevented the NCAA from awarding a rotating championship to states that displayed the Confederate flag. The new policy extends that ruling to include situations where the host location is determined by a college or university team’s tournament seeding or ranking — considered a nonpredetermined award. In those cases, schools in states that displayed a Confederate flag were allowed to host rounds of a championship on their campus or home territory based on their team’s performance during the season.
Mississippi is the only state that is currently affected by the policy because its state flag contains an image of the Confederate flag in the corner of its emblem.
The NCAA hosts 90 championships in 24 sports each year. Sports whose championship rounds hosts are determined by team performance include baseball, softball, lacrosse and women’s basketball.
“There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression,” said Michael Drake, chair of the board and president of the Ohio State University. “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 NCAA Confederate flag policy was enacted in 2001 due to the flag’s prominence in various states. For years, that prevented South Carolina from hosting championship events, a move that was rescinded in 2015 when that state removed the Confederate flag from its state capitol.
“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 NCAA President Mark Emmert. “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.”