by: Scott McCaulley
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics will move the 2018 Men’s Division II Basketball National Championships at the request of College of the Ozarks, the location of the past 18 Championship Tournaments.
Discussion had been held between the two institutions over the last few weeks after C of O President Dr. Jerry Davis announced a policy that the school’s athletic teams would not compete against teams if the team or a member of the team would not stand for the National Anthem.
In a press release issued by the school, Dr. Davis said that despite numerous attempts to get the NAIA to hold a forum or create a policy that would require players to stand for the anthem, no such forum or policy was forthcoming so the C of O has requested and the NAIA has agreed that the 2018 Championship will be moved to another location.
C of O began hosting the annual Championship in March of 2000 and as the host, earned a bid to the tournament though the team qualified several years through other automatic qualifiers. The Bobcats won the Championship in 2006 and also appeared in the finals in 2000 and 2009.
No announcement for a a replacement site has been announced by the NAIA.
Complete release below from College of the Ozarks.
College of the Ozarks has requested that the NAIA move the 2018 Men’s Division II Basketball National Tournament to another venue.
“We recently met with NAIA officials and had what we thought was a very productive discussion about creating a policy that players will stand for the national anthem,” said College President Jerry C. Davis. “We also agreed that having a forum to discuss the issue with coaches and players prior to the opening of the tournament would be beneficial. Unfortunately, the executive committee of the Council of Presidents refused to create a policy or hold a forum. As a result, the College felt that its concerns were not taken seriously by the committee and requested that the tournament be moved. The College is willing to help with the move to another venue.”
The message from the committee, on more than one occasion, was that they do not want the College to host the tournament if it is not comfortable doing so. The College hereby formally accepts that invitation to move the tournament.
“The NAIA missed the opportunity to take a stand,” Davis said. “They refused to craft a simple policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem. The NAIA’s refusal demonstrates a lack of moral clarity on a significant national issue. Their decision contradicts their own character emphasis that identifies respect as a key trait, and we believe they are missing a golden opportunity to teach student-athletes about the honor due our country and its Veterans.
“We appreciate the efforts of the staff to communicate our concerns to the committee,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, it appears the committee believes a ‘do your own thing’ mentality supersedes patriotism. College of the Ozarks takes seriously its patriotic mission and thus has made the decision to no longer host the tournament.”
Earlier this fall, the College made a policy stating athletic teams will not play opposing teams whose members take a knee or show disrespect during the national anthem.