Even before I went to UCLA, I was a huge college basketball fan. After a national championship during my freshman year 1995 and covering the basketball team for the Daily Bruin, I became a diehard college hoops junkie. Every March, it's brackets, basketball, and the Bruins for me.
Some of the wildest times I've had as a fan occurred at regular season and NCAA tourney games, and every year I have the choice to attend regional tournament games somewhere nearby where I live. I've also always taken note of where the other regional games are played and watched those fans go completely ballistic as well.
I never noticed that, since 2002, none of these games, or any NCAA championship tournament or game, has been played in South Carolina. The Bi-Lo Center, with 16,000 seats, and the Colonial Center, which was built in large part to host such events with its 18,000 seat capacity, have been banned from hosting the NCAA college basketball tournament by the NCAA.
The reason behind this ban, and a similar one in Mississippi is because these states continue to fly the Confederate flag on state grounds. All that publicity and all of that revenue are off the table.
I couldn't have asked for a better issue to serve as a teaser trailer for our upcoming discussion of the Confederate flag. I'm nearly done with John Coski's book, and a good debate should be in the offing soon.