Protestors have raised a confederate flag on a property bordering the NCAA tournament site in South Carolina, Pete Iacobelli of the AP reports:
Confederate flag next to NCAA arena pic.twitter.com/OBoJv6V8I4
— Pete Iacobelli (@PIacobelli_AP) March 19, 2017
The NCAA has had a contentious relationship with both North and South Carolina in recent years. South Carolina was recently barred from hosting NCAA championship events of any kind due to the state’s prominent display of the Confederate symbol on state buildings.
The NCAA lifted the ban in 2015 when the Palmetto State decided to renounce the Civil War symbol. This renouncement, and the subsequent removal of all confederate flags from state property, was a direct result of the Dylan Roof shootings in Charleston.
In response to this change, some local citizens have been protesting with visible displays of the flag:
— Jeff Jones (@JeffJonesSports) March 19, 2017
On Sunday, the NCAA responded to the controversy with this statement via Dan Gavitt, their NCAA senior vice president of basketball:
“The NCAA is proud and excited to host championships in the state of South Carolina once again. We are committed to assuring that our events are safe and accessible to all. No symbols that compromise that commitment will be permitted to be displayed on venue property that the tournament controls. Freedom of speech activities on public property in areas surrounding the arena are managed by the city of Greenville and we are supportive of the city’s efforts.”