Confederate flag protest adds to complicated NCAA tourney story

The NCAA has listed tickets for the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in Greenville as being sold out. Games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena will start Friday

The flag was spotted on top of a parking garage, according to the Associated Press.

A small group of protesters flew a Confederate flag outside the Greensville, S.C., arena hosting two NCAA tournament games on Sunday.

The NCAA has had a contentious relationship with both North and SC in recent years.

That decision came a little more than a year after the NCAA ended a 14-year boycott of predetermined postseason events in SC, whose State House in Columbia displayed the Confederate battle flag on capitol grounds until July 2015. Since 2001, the NCAA had refused to hold championship events in the state due to the flag's presence, but it changed its policy after its removal. "If you're going to hide our flag, we'll fly it loud and proud in front of everyone who visits your state until you do what you said you were going to do. Now that they've lifted their boycott, we want to make sure people see it".

It's unclear if the parking garage is considered arena property, though the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball indicated in a statement Sunday that the garage is controlled by the city. When one of the trucks pulled to the sidewalk and raised the flag on a telescopic flagpole, some 30 feet in the air, police ordered him to move.

"The NCAA is proud and excited to host championships in the state of SC once again", said Dave Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice-president of basketball. "We are committed to assuring that our events are safe and accessible to all".

The NCAA's website listed the sessions in Bon Secours Wellness Arena as sold out on Monday afternoon.

"No symbols that compromise that commitment will be permitted to be displayed on venue property that the tournament controls".

Later, other protesters arrived to wave Confederate flags at street level.

"I want you to get run over!" the motorist yelled back.

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