Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you'll know that the Confederate flag that flew over and at the State Capitol building in South Carolina was taken down on Friday. Following a decision by the legislative branch of the state, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law and at approximately 10 AM on Friday, the Confederate Battle Flag was taken down from the head of state edifice in Columbia, SC.
What you may have not known is that the decision, while made for a multitude of reasons we are not going to discuss on these pages, actually has an impact to the ACC and its member institutions. In 2000, the NCAA began banning postseason sporting events at predetermined sites as long as the Confederate flag flew in public display in states. The ruling directly impacted South Carolina and Mississippi.
With the removal of the flag from its capitol grounds, the NCAA lifted the ban on South Carolina on Thursday, paving the road for the state to begin hosting postseason championships.
For the ACC, this is a landmark ruling and something that could have a far-reaching impact. When the NCAA enacted its ban, the league hosted its baseball championships at Knights Stadium, the home field of the Charlotte Knights. At the time, however, the stadium stood over the state line in Fort Mill, South Carolina. A predetermined site for a championship, the ACC tournament moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 2002, never to return to the Palmetto State. In 2014, the Knights moved back into Charlotte proper, giving the league a new opportunity to return baseball to its flagship city.
With the ban now lifted, the ACC, which determined its host sites through 2018, can open the door to moving back into South Carolina, where several minor league teams currently compete. The Charleston RiverDogs, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees, play in a 6,000-seat stadium, and the capitol city of Columbia is on the verge of receiving a South Atlantic League team. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans play in one of the best tourist destinations for early spring and summer, yet couldn't host because the flag flew at the state capitol building.
For other sports, the North Charleston Coliseum hosts 14,000 seat events, having hosted professional wrestling and major concerts. It also serves as a home basketball arena for Charleston Southern as well as a home hockey arena for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
So while the decision to remove the Confederate flag was not without discussion or debate, it had far-reaching impacts. Regardless of politics, it now seems as though the decision will forever alter the state of college athletics, including those in the ACC, even if on the surface it had nothing to do with sports. But yet it couldn't host anything like a basketball regional, so the shockwaves of the decision could be felt at even higher levels.