The Daily Gamecock

NCAA flag rule compromises culture

Organization should not pander to vocal minority

As college basketball’s “March Madness” tournament continues, South Carolina was once again thrown into the spotlight regarding the NCAA edict barring tournament games from being played in the state. While some have been quick to blame the Confederate flag for the ban, it is apparent upon closer observation that this is not entirely the case.

The ruling specifically states: “No predetermined session of an NCAA championship may be conducted in a state where the confederate flag is flown.” There is no mention of the South Carolina Statehouse or direct reference to public or private land upon which the flag rests. It would not be far-fetched to say that somewhere in every state of America, the Confederate flag is flown. The state of Florida had the largest Confederate banner in the world flying proudly near Tampa (it was replaced two years ago with a slightly smaller flag), yet Floridians do not risk losing games. On top of this, anyone with a mediocre knowledge of Southern history understands that there are multiple Confederate flags. The ruling, again, makes no distinction.

What the NCAA has decided to do is cater to a vocal minority, the NAACP and Black Coaches Association, in a political attempt to villainize those who claim Southern heritage. The NCAA is supposed to be an athletic association, not a legislative or political body. Withholding tournament games from South Carolina is an attempt to bully an entire state to change its culture into conformity with that of a vocal minority.

The NAACP began a tourism boycott of South Carolina in 1999 to protest the Confederate battle flag on top of the state Capitol. Interestingly, the NCAA followed in 2001 with its ruling barring predetermined tournament games from the state. What sort of precedent does this set for other social issues? While much to-do has been made of the boycott, tourism in South Carolina saw consistent increases in economic contributions from 2001 (after the boycott began) until the global financial crisis of 2009, with yearly revenues rising from $14 billion to $17 billion.

The fact of the matter is that the NCAA ruling is too broad and not enforced according to its wording. The ban inflicts harm upon a predominately black sport regarding an issue over which the coaches and athletes have no authority. South Carolina will not host tournament games this year because of a left-wing movement attempting to create controversy over the flag, not the flag itself. The NCAA should stick to athletics and leave culture alone.