College of the Ozarks decides against hosting NAIA Division II basketball tournament over anthem stance

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 2:25 PM CDT
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College of the Ozarks has requested 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.