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CORDER: With MSU, Ole Miss and USM set...

CORDER: With MSU, Ole Miss and USM set to potentially host baseball regionals, did NCAA blink?

By: Frank Corder - May 14, 2021

Threats over the Mississippi Fairness Act didn’t pan out.

The NCAA has announced the top 20 potential sites to host Division I College Baseball regional tournaments.  Not surprisingly, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss baseball programs were all announced today to be among those host sites prescreened by the NCAA for the 16 regional events.

College baseball is big in Mississippi.  Really big.  Mississippi is one of only two states to have three teams among the 20 potential host sites (Texas is the other).

Here’s the full list.

Arizona (Tucson)
Arkansas (Fayetteville)
Charlotte (Gastonia*)
East Carolina (Greenville)
Florida (Gainesville)
Gonzaga (Spokane)
Louisiana Tech (Ruston)
Mississippi State (Starkville)
Notre Dame (South Bend)
Ole Miss (Oxford)
Oregon (Eugene)
Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh)
South Carolina (Columbia)
Southern Miss (Hattiesburg)
Stanford (Stanford)
Tennessee (Knoxville)
Texas (Austin)
Texas Tech (Lubbock)
TCU (Fort Worth)
Vanderbilt (Nashville)

Back in April, the NCAA Board of Governors strongly hinted that states like Mississippi would not be able to host post season tournaments due to the recent law regarding transgender sports participation.  Arkansas and other states have also passed similar legislation.

Now, the question is, did the NCAA blink?  With Arkansas and Mississippi state ranked 1 and 3 respectively, having an NCAA tournament without those two would likely have caused a great deal of consternation in the college baseball world.  Not giving them homefield advantage would be equally as damning for the NCAA.

In 2020, the NCAA was one of several national organizations that insisted on a change to the Mississippi flag, which happened that summer and was later ratified by Mississippi voters in November.  Mississippi’s higher learning institutions were also supportive of that call.  An argument can certainly be made that the changing of the flag was much more of a bright line for the NCAA.  But for the passage of the new flag, the baseball regional conversation might be very different right now.

Should the NCAA later opt to justify post season bans using a state’s position on transgender participation in sports, they will have a much more difficult time in doing so after today’s precedent setting decision.

Mississippi appears to be in good shape… at least for now.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: