SEC threatens to pull championship events from Mississippi until state alters flag
The movement against the Confederate flag has reached college sports.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey delivered a strong message to schools located in Mississippi on Thursday, threatening to keep championship events away from the state until its flag is altered.
Mississippi's state flag includes the Confederate symbol that has long been associated with slave ownership and racism.
"It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the state of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all," Sankey said.
"In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the state of Mississippi until the state flag is changed."
Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen quickly voiced support for Sankey's stance.
"Mississippi State University is proud to be among the most diverse universities in the SEC. Alongside our university leadership, we aim to continue our support for changing the state flag, which should unite us, not divide us," Cohen said in a statement obtained by Tyler Horka of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
The University of Mississippi, which stopped flying the state flag at its campus in 2015, also backed Sankey.
"The University of Mississippi community concluded years ago that the Confederate battle flag did not represent many of our core values, such as civility and respect for others," chancellor Glenn Boyce and vice chancellor Keith Carter said in a release. They added: "Mississippi needs a flag that represents the qualities about our state that unite us, not those that still divide us."