Conference USA, the athletic conference that includes the University of Southern Mississippi in its membership, announced Monday that no championship events would be held in Mississippi until the Confederate-based state flag is changed.
The organization’s board of directors said in a morning statement that championship events are “prohibited” until the “confederate emblem is removed from the state flag.” The emblem was used as the battle flag of the Confederate States of America and is widely viewed as a symbol of white supremacy.
The conference’s decision comes on the heels of similar actions by the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said last week that it is “past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi” and that students “deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.”
The state’s public universities do not currently fly the state flag, and Dr. Rodney Bennett, president of Southern Miss, said last week that he looks forward “to a time when our state flag represents the full and rich diversity of Mississippi, a diversity that is reflected in our student-athletes, our student body, and the friends and fans of our athletics teams.”
C-USA is based in Dallas, Texas, and has 14 members with 19 sports.