Ole Miss softball earned the right to host an NCAA regional this upcoming weekend after winning the SEC Tournament. The NAACP is requesting that the site of the regional be moved outside of the state of Mississippi because the state’s flag bears the confederate emblem.
The Associated Press reported that Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson called the flag a “racial hate symbol” and is attempting to ban any and all tournaments from states which prominently display confederate imagery.
“Racial hate symbols are the same regardless of the tournament being played,” Johnson told the AP.
The NAACP’s demands come despite the fact that the University of Mississippi has not flown the state flag since the decision was made to remove it from the campus in 2015. The flag hasn’t been flown in athletic facilities since 2014. Ole Miss is one of the eight public universities that chose not to fly the flag.
While the magnolia state hasn’t been selected to host a “pre-selected championship” game since 2001, Mississippi State was able to host games during the women’s NCAA Tournament because of their #1 seeding.
Gail Dent, a spokeswomen for the NCAA, noted that it is the right of the athletes to play at home, based on performance. The NCAA has a policy concering the confederate flag, but this issue doesn’t fall under that policy.
“Championships where student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus are not covered in the Confederate flag policy,” Dent said Tuesday. “This distinction is consistent with the NCAA’s commitment to student-athletes.”
The Oxford regional begins this Friday with Ole Miss taking on Southern Illinois at 8:30 p.m.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.