The NCAA Board of Governors has expanded the association’s existing Confederate flag policy to prevent any NCAA championship events from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence. Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the expanded policy, the NCAA said.
The NCAA previously barred the awarding of sites determined in advance of a championship in states that displayed the Confederate flag — the NCAA Confederate flag policy was first enacted in 2001 by the NCAA Executive Committee, according to the announcement last Friday. If a college or university team earned the right to host a championship game based on its tournament seeding or ranking, however, the team previously could host on its college campus or in its home territory.
In 2014, the old policy was reviewed at the request of the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee but went unchanged at the time.
“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 and president of the Ohio State University, said. “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 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 news comes shortly after the NCAA said it would review Idaho’s law barring transgender women and girls from competing in women’s and girls’ sports at the high school and collegiate level in the state. Forty-plus college swimmers, and a total of more than 400 college athletes, signed a letter to the NCAA asking it not to host events in the state earlier this month.
“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,” Mark Emmert, NCAA president, said. “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.”