The NCAA is proud and excited to host championships in the state of South Carolina once again,” Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement. "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.
The issue was settled in 2015 after the massacre of nine black Charleston church goers by Dylann Roof, who was seen in pictures with the Confederate flag. State lawmakers voted to remove the flag in July 2015 and the NCAA lifted its sanctions. Roof was convicted of multiple murder counts and sentenced to death.
Hunter Meadows of Blue Ridge said the protesters did not think it fair that all Confederate flag supporters were blamed for Roof's actions.
"I didn't feel it was right when the flag came down," said Meadows, who said his ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. "We wanted to show the NCAA that we're still here."
Associated Press/WFMY News 2