June 27, 2004
may become victim to Confederate flag
SC Statehouse Report
27, 2004 - - As little time as state lawmakers spent this
year discussing a proposed Palmetto Bowl before approving
$380,000 a year for 15 years to help create it, one thing
didn't come up: the Confederate flag.
Or Star Trek, offered S.C. House Ways and Means Chairman
Bobby Harrell of Charleston when asked whether lawmakers talked
about the flag in relation to the bowl game.
"I don't see the two issues as being connected,"
added State Rep. Chip Limehouse, a Charleston Republican who
is pushing to create the football bowl game in Charleston
in a stadium that also could be revamped for The Citadel.
DO YOU THINK?
do you think about the Palmetto Bowl becoming a victim
to the Confederate flag?
the Legislature reopen the flag issue and take it
off the Statehouse grounds?
the NCAA lift its moratorium on South Carolina?
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IN THIS ISSUE:
WORLD: My Life
Letter on Carolina Investors
Winners and losers of the past week
But the flag and post-season game are very much related,
according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
That's because the NCAA currently has a moratorium on championship
or post-season certified football events in South Carolina
because the flag is "located within a Confederate memorial
on the Statehouse grounds," according to a background
memo dated April 22, 2004.
According to NCAA rules, any post-season activity has to
be "certified" by the NCAA. As long as the flag
is on Statehouse grounds, the NCAA won't certify bowl activity
in the Palmetto State, according to NCAA spokesperson Dana
So where does this leave South Carolina's chance for a bowl
game? In a pickle. Up the creek. Between the proverbial rock
and hard place.
As it stands, one of two things will have to happen to create
the bowl, backed by ESPN and the Charleston Metro Sports Council:
- The state can reopen the Confederate flag issue to move
the banner from the Statehouse Grounds, or
- The NCAA can lift the ban.
Neither appears likely to happen.
Harrell and Limehouse said lawmakers would not revisit the
politically prickly flag issue following a compromise a few
years back that took it off the Statehouse dome and put it
on the grounds.
"That issue is settled in South Carolina," Harrell
said. "I don't anticipate we would have some outside
group come in and say they know how to do it better."
To which the NCAA's Thomas replied in a separate phone interview,
"Then you're not going to have people from the outside
bringing money into the state."
Kathleen Cartland, executive director of the Charleston Metro
Sports Council, said her organization was aware of the NCAA
moratorium - - something most or all state lawmakers apparently
didn't know or realize during budget debates. But she said
she expected ESPN and the council to appeal to the NCAA to
lift the moratorium in April at its next certification meeting.
That seems unlikely at this stage. Just two months ago on
April 29, the NCAA Executive Committee reasserted the moratorium
for the third time since 2001:
"It was voted that the Executive Committee direct the
Football Certification Subcommittee of the Division I Championships/Competition
Cabinet, which oversees the certification of all exempted
football contests, to deny any requests for certification
of bowl games in any state where a moratorium exists as a
result of the state's Confederate Flag stance," according
to minutes of the meeting.
A month after the NCAA's reaffirmation of its policy, the
S.C. General Assembly approved its $5.6 billion budget, including
a proviso that directed $380,000 a year to be held in escrow
by the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism "until
such time as the department is certain that the bowl game
will be held in South Carolina."
Harrell said the budget item was written with flexibility
"In the movie 'Field of Dreams,' it was if you build
it [a field] they will come. This is if you come, we will
build it," he said.
William Jenkinson, chairman of The Citadel's Board of Visitors,
said the college doesn't have a dog in the fight over the
Palmetto Bowl. It just needs a new stadium. It can play in
a planned upgraded facility (22,000 seats) or a bowl-game-sized
facility (35,000 seats).
"The Citadel wants a football field and we're going
to build one - - one way or another," he said.
A bowl game in the Charleston area would allow The Citadel,
plus other schools and groups, to have access to a larger
The state provided backing to help make the dream a reality.
Still, one state senator privately criticized the deal as
not getting enough legislative scrutiny and wondered whether
it would have passed muster if the flag issue had been connected
at the time of budget votes.
For now, hopes for a new bowl game in South Carolina look
dim. And that's sad. The bowl, like many companies and people
interested in our state, may become victim to an ages-old
flag that many find more offensive than historic.
How much more does the state have to lose before lawmakers
realize it's time to join the 21st century?
NEXT WEEK: How
the recent Senate runoffs may have created a more Sanford-friendly
6/27: My Life
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:
6/20: Bad example
To the editor:
With investors with Carolina Investors giving only 15 cents
on the dollar to their investors, I would look for other investment
firms to "belly up" and try this procedure. I sure
hope they continue with all the criminal indictments
for each and every officer and CEO .
-- Boyd McLean. Gaffney, S.C.
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SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Challengers. Hats off to Chip Campsen and Randy Scott,
who both beat Senate incumbents to essentially lock up their
respective state Senate seats.
Knotts. Sen. Jakie Knotts, R-Lexington, shows his
chutzpah by blaming the Lexington Chamber of Commerce for
contributing to the county's environmental problems. More:
Hilton Head council members. Two members criticized
the Legislature for passing a property tax reassessment cap
because they believe it was irresponsible and would cause
lots of problems.
McMaster. The attorney general's support of a lawsuit
against the General Assembly's Life Sciences Act looks politically
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