Several Ole Miss head coaches and athletic director Keith Carter visited Jackson on Thursday to lobby for the removal of the current state flag, and on Sunday, state lawmakers voted to do just that.
Mississippi has flown its flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem for more than 126 years, but the state House and Senate have passed a bill to remove it immediately. Governor Tate Reeves also confirmed via social media on Saturday that he will sign the bill into law. Now, a commission will be appointed to develop a new design for state residents to either approve or reject when they go to the polls in November.
University of Mississippi head coaches including Kermit Davis, Lane Kiffin, Mike Bianco, Yolett McPhee-McCuin and Connie Price-Smith accompanied Carter at the State Capitol to advocate for this change.
The vocal involvement of athletic coaches across the state in the state flag discussion comes after the NCAA publicly stated that without the removal of the Confederate symbolism, there would be no conference or regional championships in Mississippi.
Coaches from all eight public universities in Mississippi spoke in favor of the removal, including Davis, head coach of the men’s basketball team.
“We know that time for change is now,” Davis said. “It’s a great opportunity for our state, the state that I grew up in, to make change for the better. It begins with a flag that represents all the citizens in our state.”
With efforts from some of Mississippi’s most influential leaders and residents across the state, the legislators have listened, and the flag is now in the process of undergoing this long-awaited change.