When South Carolina lowers the Confederate flag Friday, it will not only please civil-rights organizations: it also means March Madness may eventually come to the state.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds on Thursday, and said the flag would be lowered on Friday at 10 a.m.
In response, the NCAA said South Carolina would be allowed to host neutral-site championship games as soon as the flag is lowered. South Carolina had been banned from hosting postseason events since 2001 because of the Confederate flag's presence on the statehouse grounds.
The last time South Carolina hosted Division I Men's Basketball events was when Greenville hosted games in 2002.
In 2000, the chairman of the NCAA Executive Committee at the time said the flag created "an inhospitable environment for many coaches and student-athletes, and for some, it is an intolerable environment."
South Carolina was not the only state that faced such a ban. The NCAA also banned Mississippi from hosting neutral-site NCAA championship games. Mississippi has the Confederate emblem on its state flag.
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Eric Garcia is a staff correspondent for National Journal. He previously was a transparency reporter for MarketWatch, where he reported on financial regulation issues. His work has also appeared in the Southern Political Report, Salon, the American Prospect and the New Republic. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and covered politics for its campus paper, the Daily Tar Heel.