Stars and Bars harm SC economy

Joshua Jenkins
Staff Writer

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This is one dead horse that no one needs to apologize for beating. The fact of the matter is, the confederate flag is hindering The Palmetto State’s economy and changes should be made to benefit our state.

For a little background information, in 2000 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for a boycott of tourism in the state of South Carolina, a boycott that has been backed by the NCAA. The boycott bars South Carolina is not allowed to host any championship events at “pre-determined sites” such as NCAA basketball tournament games and football bowl games. The ban does not apply to regional and super regional baseball games since the host sites are not pre-determined.

The debate surrounding the confederate flag was recently rekindled when USC’s basketball team was awarded a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. The Lady Gamecocks basketball team have enjoyed tremendous success recently under the tutelage of head coach Dawn Staley, qualifying for the tournament each of the last 3 years. This season the Lady Gamecocks boasted an SEC regular season championship and a 27-4 overall record going into the NCAA tournament and were rewarded with a number one seed, but instead of hosting its first two games at the Colonial Life Arena (where they are are undefeated this season) they must travel to Seattle for their first round game; a just reward for their stellar season. More importantly (not to take away from the Gamecock’s success), cities comparable to Columbia in size have made excellent profit from hosting NCAA post-season; when hosting the first and second round games of the NCAA tournament in 2012 Greensboro, NC saw a $14.5 million economic boost from hotels, restaurants and shopping in the area. Dayton, Ohio gained $4 million from hosting the 2012 play-in games and the CEO of their visitor’s bureau said the event is one of the city’s biggest when it comes to economic impact. “People say it’s a heritage issue and not a race thing, but they fail to realize that race and the confederate flag go hand in hand; there is no way around it. I know people take pride in the flag, but if its removal brings more money to the state then that pride should be swallowed” , said Spencer Woodstook, a senior English major.

The restricting arms of the boycott stretch beyond the hardwood. The ban kept the ACC from moving its baseball tournament to Myrtle Beach for a 3 year stint in 2009 and is hindering the creation of a bowl game in Charleston (that would bring $6 million annually to the low country). “The profit gained by South Carolina being able to host NCAA events would be great, but I wish the NCAA wouldn’t make such a big deal about the flag”, said Charleston native Dustin bailey, a junior business major. “  I don’t take pride in the everyday actions of people who fought under the flag, but I do take pride in the fact they fought for what they believe in. It’s not a subject of race, it is just us showing pride in our state and our heritage“

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