For years, the NCAA didn’t allow any postseason games in South Carolina because the Confederate battle flag flew over the statehouse.
After former Governor Nikki Haley ordered the flag removed in 2015, Greenville was chosen to host first- and second-round games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The selection committee even did the state a favor, making the University of South Carolina a 7 seed in the East Regional, placing them in Greenville, effectively giving the Gamecocks two home games for the first two rounds of the tournament. They made the most of the chance, advancing to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen.
The state’s first tournament games were marred, though, when protesters hoisted a large Confederate flag near the arena.
— Corey Davis (@CoreyWYFF) March 19, 2017
Police asked the protesters to move the flag about 50 feet, citing concerns that it might tip and fall.
“The NCAA is proud and excited to host championships in the state of South Carolina once again,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement Sunday. “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.”