By Jennifer Saab, NAIA Director of Communications
KANSAS CITY, MO, October 27, 2017 – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the College of the Ozarks have agreed to relocate the 2018 NAIA DII Men’s Basketball Championship which was scheduled to take place in Branson, Mo. A new location has yet to be determined.
This decision came after multiple meetings regarding the possible impact of the College of the Ozarks’ “No Pledge, No Play” policy on the tournament, as well as the school’s request that the NAIA enact an association-wide policy requiring all players and coaches to stand during the national anthem.
“The NAIA respects the rights of all our members to determine the best course of action for their teams in regards to the national anthem,” said NAIA President Jim Carr. “However, our first priority is providing student-athletes the best event possible and neither the NAIA nor the College of the Ozarks
The NAIA believes the playing of the anthem provides student-athletes and fans an important and time-honored tradition to honor our country and veterans. The association encourages everyone in attendance to stand when the anthem is played.
The NAIA also understands that the freedom of speech -- and the right to peaceful protest -- are indisputable rights in the United States. Because the NAIA is made up of 250 diverse schools, the association believes it is in the best interest of the institutions to let them individually decide what actions are acceptable for their coaches and student-athletes.
“The College of the Ozarks has been a gracious and accommodating championship host for 18 years,” said NAIA President Jim Carr. “We appreciate their hospitality, as do the many student-athletes who had the privilege of playing in the DII national championship in Branson.”