The commissioner of the Southeastern Conference is forcing the state of Mississippi into a decision: change your flag or no athletic conference championships in the state. In the statement released on Thursday, commissioner Greg Sankey said that it is past time that Confederate symbols be retired from SEC schools.
“Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all,” the statement said.
Mississippi’s state flag features the Confederate emblem in the top left corner, a symbol that legislators have recently pushed to change. The board for the Institutions of Higher Learning had passed earlier that day that the university’s Confederate memorial would be relocated to the Confederate cemetery behind the Tad Smith coliseum.
The university has not flown the state flag on campus since 2015.
Shortly after, a joint statement from Chancellor Glenn Boyce and athletics director Keith Carter said that Ole Miss had long ago given up the Mississippi flag.
“We support the SEC’s position for changing the Mississippi state flag to an image that is more welcoming and inclusive for all people.”
This is a developing story.