Protests over racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd, have gone beyond the treatment of minorities in the hand of law enforcement officers to include the removal considered offensive and even the renaming of some buildings that have been named for Confederate officials.
Currently the NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association – has a ruling forbidding any university from hosting events in a state that limits the rights of people in the LGBTQ+ community and condones the Confederate flag. Mississippi is presently the only state that is affected by the ban. The Mississippi state flag features the Confederate flag in its design.
The SEC – Southeastern Conference – has issued a similar ban. The SEC includes universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The NCAA is looking to expand its Confederate flag ban ruling. In some sports like baseball, basketball, and softball; tournaments and post season play host sites are determined by team performance. Due to the ban, Mississippi cannot host any such events.
NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke on the ruling saying, “we must do all we can to ensure that NCAA actions reflect our commitment to inclusion and support all our student-athlete. There can be no place within college sports where any student-athlete is demeaned or unwelcome.”
Students at a number of universities have been among the thousands of protests in the past couple of weeks; vice president of opportunity development at Shenandoah University Fritz Polite said, “they (the NCAA) are following the trail, which is contradictory to leadership. Leadership is about influencing and modifying the behavior of others. It’s not waiting for the students to be the leaders and then the NCAA to come behind.”
Officials at some of Mississippi’s state universities noted, “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.”
feature photo credit: NCAA Facebook page