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NCAA bans championship events from states that fly Confederate flag

The University of Mississippi is not allowed to host any championship events on its campus under an NCAA rule that prohibits the events in states that fly the Confederate flag. Photo by Ken Lund/Flickr
The University of Mississippi is not allowed to host any championship events on its campus under an NCAA rule that prohibits the events in states that fly the Confederate flag. Photo by Ken Lund/Flickr

June 19 (UPI) -- The NCAA board of governors on Friday banned college championship events from states that fly the Confederate flag.

College sports' governing body said Mississippi will be the only state affected by the expanded policy.

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The move follows Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey's announcement Thursday that the conference will consider not allowing Mississippi to host conference championship events until the state changed its flag, which features the Confederate banner.

"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.

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"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 previous policy that barred states that displayed the Confederate flag from hosting the events if they had been scheduled in advance of any championship competition.

That rule allowed states to host championships if the game's location was based on tournament seeding or ranking. The initial Confederate flag policy was enacted in 2001 and allowed baseball, softball, lacrosse and women's basketball to still have championships in states that flew that flag.

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Southern Mississippi is scheduled to host the 2022 conference baseball tournament.

"There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression," said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of 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."

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University of Mississippi chancellor Glenn Boyce and athletics vice chancellor Keith Carter released statements Thursday that encouraged the state to change its flag.

The school stopped flying the state flag over its campus in 2015. Mississippi State president Mark E. Keenum also said he supports a change. Mississippi State also stopped flying the flag on its campus.

South Carolina was impacted by the NCAA's previously policy before the state stopped flying the Confederate flag at its capitol. The NCAA lifted the state's championship ban in 2015.

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