NEW YORK — The NCAA is expanding its policy banning states with prominent confederate symbols from hosting its championship events.
The current ban, in place since 2001, prevents states from hosting what the NCAA calls predetermined championship sites, such as men’s basketball tournament games.
Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the policy.
The expanded policy means that even when sites of games are determined by performance as they are in sports such as baseball and women’s basketball, Mississippi schools will not be permitted to host NCAA tournament games.
The leaders of the public universities released the following joint statement Friday afternoon:
“Several years ago, our universities recognized that the Mississippi state flag in its current form is divisive and chose to lower the flag on our campuses. Today, we are committed to continuing to do our part to ensure Mississippi is united in its pursuit of a future that is free of racism and discrimination. Such a future must include a new state flag.
In keeping the current state flag, Mississippi will potentially forego the millions of dollars in economic impact that NCAA postseason events bring to our state. This is unfortunate. Our student-athletes and coaches, who devote so much of their time, talent, hard work and dedication to their sports and our universities, will potentially be negatively impacted through no action of their own. This is more than unfortunate.
We are looking forward to a time when our state flag represents the full and rich diversity of Mississippi, a diversity that is reflected in our student-athletes, our student bodies, and the friends and fans of our athletics teams. We look forward to a time when Mississippi’s state flag unites Mississippians, rather than divides us.”
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