NCAA Expands Confederate Flag Ban to All Championships

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The NCAA Board of Governors announced Friday that it has expanded its Confederate Flag policy to prevent any NCAA championship event from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence. 

The news of the policy change, which Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger first reported on Friday morning, only affects the state of Mississippi, per the NCAA.

"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 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's previous policy prevented the awarding of championship sites determined in advance to states that displayed the Confederate flag but allowed an NCAA school to host a championship game if they were awarded it based on tournament seeding or ranking.

The NCAA's decision comes just over 12 hours removed from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey's call to action Thursday evening regarding the state flag of Mississippi. 

Sankey said in a statement that, "It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi," adding that in the event that the state does not change its flag that the SEC will consider not hosting title games in the state.

CBS News' Kate Smith reported earlier this week that momentum is growing in the state to adjust its flag, which prominently displays elements of the Confederate flag in its own ensign.

Last week, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers began drafting legislation to change the state flag, per CBS News, the first time the issue has been addressed seriously since 2001.

“I don’t know if the SEC announcement will, but the NCAA’s might,” a high-ranking source in the Mississippi political realm told Sports Illustrated regarding the chance of Mississippi changing its state flag. “I think that might move the needle a little bit.”

Mississippi has the highest percentage of Black Americans in the country.

In recent weeks, a number of symbols from the Confederacy have been removed from across the United States.

On June 10, NASCAR announced it would prohibit the presence of the Confederate flag from all events and properties.