ACC was right to move games

By Ron Morris
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
Posted: Saturday, Aug. 01, 2009

GREENSBORO

In case you missed it, the ACC came to its senses a couple of weeks ago. It reneged on an agreement to play the league baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach for three consecutive years beginning in 2011.

By playing the smart card, the ACC turned it over to other conferences and to the South Carolina legislature to deal with the Confederate flag flap, and bad rumors are afloat that a few state legislators want to appeal to the NCAA to bring a men’s basketball regional tournament to Columbia.

Doesn’t the legislature have bigger issues to deal with than hosting basketball tournaments? How about removing the Confederate flag – that symbol of racism – from the State House grounds?

The flag flying on Gervais Street is the reason the ACC backed out of its agreement to play the baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach. That, and the threat of an NAACP boycott of the event.

The ACC sheepishly admitted it did not do its homework during the summer months. It failed to gain approval for the Myrtle Beach site from the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP. The NAACP, as you no doubt know, wants the Confederate flag removed from the State House grounds. Until it is moved, the NAACP will rightfully continue its fight to keep sporting events from being played in the state.

There is no telling what kind of revenue was lost to Myrtle Beach and South Carolina by moving the ACC baseball tournament to a state – North Carolina – that long ago advanced into the 21st century with regard to race relations.

Now we (South Carolina) are not likely to ever again hear from the ACC on this matter. By pulling out of Myrtle Beach before it moved in, the league recognized the virtue of keeping its playing fields out of the political arena.

“It’s hard to predict the future,” John Swofford, the ACC commissioner, said last week when asked if his league would ever again attempt to hold a tournament of any kind in South Carolina. “In terms of the current NCAA policy, and where our presidents are on the issue and the (ACC) executive committee (is), it would be difficult.”

That is a bold statement coming from Swofford. Generally, his idea of taking a stand on any issue is to sit down, mull both sides and declare it a dead heat. He easily could have added that the ACC had no idea what it was getting into when it assigned the tournament to Myrtle Beach.

Lonnie Randolph, South Carolina’s NAACP president, held several telephone meetings with Swofford and gave him a lesson in state history. I am certain Swofford learned that it is OK by South Carolina legislative standards to insult an entire state population by waving a flag that should be displayed in a museum.

The ACC’s decision again renders the South Carolina NAACP’s boycott effective. Even if it is only one dollar that has been kept out of the South Carolina economy, the NAACP’s fight is worthwhile.

To those who believe the NAACP’s fight is for naught and should be abandoned, Randolph says: “If Rosa Parks had given up the fight, do you think that Montgomery would have ever desegregated their bus rides?”

On The Web:   www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/story/865711.html