Springfield, MO

Branson area losing $2M economic impact from C of O decision

Posted online

Last edited 10:16 a.m., Nov. 1, 2017

After 18 years hosting a national men’s basketball tournament, College of the Ozarks will not serve as its home in 2018 because of the school’s new national anthem policy. Through the move, the Branson market’s economy will lose the effect of tens of thousands of annual visitors.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is relocating the 2018 Men’s Division II Basketball National Tournament after a request by C of O, according to a news release. The tournament brings about 20,000 visitors to Branson with an annual estimated economic impact of $2 million, said NAIA spokeswoman Jennifer Saab.

Some 650 volunteers, including faculty, staff, students and community members, helped the college during the 2017 tournament, according to Schools are not paid for hosting the tournament, Saab said.

The switch stems from C of O’s decision in September to enact a “no pledge, no play” policy through which the college will not participate in games unless all participating players and coaches stand for the national anthem. C of O officials also called on the NAIA to implement a similar policy among its 250 members schools.

NAIA officials said while they encourage everyone in attendance at games to stand for the national anthem, they also respect the First Amendment right to peaceful protests. “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,” officials wrote in the release.

“College of the Ozarks has been a gracious and accommodating championship host for 18 years,” NAIA President Jim Carr said in the release. “We appreciate their hospitality, as do the many student-athletes who had the privilege of playing in the DII national championship in Branson.”

A news release from C of O indicates the college requested the tournament be moved after the NAIA declined to put its own anthem policy into place or hold a forum prior to the 2018 tournament.  

“The college felt that its concerns were not taken seriously by the committee and requested that the tournament be moved,” C of O President Jerry Davis said in the release. “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.”

C of O has offered to help the NAIA relocate the tournament, but a new venue has not yet been selected.


1 comment on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Randy Baker

I thought $20 million reported initially was wayyyyyy out of whack, but, who am I? One has to respect someone, agree or disagree aside, who stands on principles and doesn't waver. Glad to see some don't bend their principles.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Editors' Pick

Robotics in Waiting: OTC seeks pole position as advanced manufacturing educator

The move would come with a new property tax levied on residents of regional school districts.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
Training Bootcamp: Training Needs Assessment

All workplace problems have root causes. When will training be the solution? Sherry Coker, OTC Center for Workforce Development business development director, provides you the framework of a training needs assessment, which will uncover the root causes of a workplace problem and help you determine if training is the solution. A download is available at with a complete outline for an effective training needs assessment. This is sponsored content. Duration: 2:29

Don’t Micro-Manage Are you guilty of micromanaging your employees? “If we’re going to require them to be that educated when they come to work for us, should we not let them do their job? They should know so much …
Seek Wisdom from Many “My whole life goal is to change the world, one connection at a time,” says Keisha Mabry. Mabry, who is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur, says she had a “quarter-life crisis” and …
DNA Uncovers Best Version of You A simple swab of the inside of your cheek can lead to optimizing your nutrition and fitness program, personal medication profile, in addition to your ancestry. According to Austin O’Reilly, owner …
Booked - Go Back to the Basics “You’ve gotta go back to the basics,” says Larry Peterson, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield Missouri. Peterson says he gains leadership advice from General Ulysses S. …