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NAACP pushes for NCAA tourney to move from Mississippi because of Confederate symbol on flag

JACKSON, Miss. — A civil rights group is asking the NCAA to move a regional softball tournament out of Mississippi because the state flag contains the Confederate battle emblem.

Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson calls the emblem a “racial hate symbol.”

The University of Mississippi in Oxford is hosting an NCAA regional tournament Friday through Sunday, based on the team’s performance.

Since 2001, the NCAA has not scheduled a “pre-selected championship,” such as a football bowl game, in a state where the rebel flag flies prominently. However, the NCAA allows schools in those states to host events in which the team earns a home field advantage.

The NCAA praised South Carolina in 2015 for removing a Confederate battle flag from the statehouse. The collegiate sports group called the flag a “symbol of racism.”