The Atlantic Coast Conference’s board of directors announced Wednesday that if public health guidance allows, all seven ACC-sponsored fall sports will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12.
The announcement followed several months of discussion and scenario planning among the league membership and its medical advisory group. Each decision is based on the best available medical guidelines and coincides with our universities’ academic missions.
Even so, the board noted the uncertain and challenging environment all areas of society are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The directors noted that intercollegiate athletics is just one area that must be addressed in the effort to return the campuses, bring back students and faculty when possible and pursue the league’s academic missions and goals as part of higher education. The health, safety and well-being of all the campus constituents is at the forefront of all decisions.
After the decision was announced, the VT Athletic Department released a statement that said, “We support the ACC’s decision to proceed with a planned 10+1 model for the 2020 football season, as well as the plan for other fall sports. We will continue to follow standards established by the State of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Montgomery County public health officials as we continue our preparations.”
“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” said Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University and the Chair of the ACC Board of Directors. “Today’s announcement outlines a specific path for ACC fall sports to return to intercollegiate athletic competition using comprehensive protocols put forward by our ACC Medical Advisory Group. As a league, we understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information evolves in conjunction with local and state health guidelines.”
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition.
“Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner,” Swofford said. “We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group, which has been meeting weekly since the spring to share information on the impact of COVID-19 on ACC campuses and intercollegiate athletics, has recommended minimum standards for each campus to follow as fall sports return. Among those recommendations are weekly testing for close contact sports, standards for reporting positive test results and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing competition areas.
The league’s leadership, and its medical advisory group, will continue to meet on a weekly basis to share information and discuss medical issues related to the ACC’s return to play. Should any future adjustments be necessary, the ACC Board of Directors will do so at the appropriate time. After Wednesday’s meeting, the plan for ACC football in 2020 is as follows:
The season’s first games will take place the week of Sept. 7-12.
The 2020 scheduling model includes 11 games (10 conference games and one non-conference contest).
All non-conference game opponents, selected by the respective school, must be played in the home state of the ACC institution, and all non-conference opponents must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC.
The 11 games will be played over at least 13 weeks with each team having two open dates.
There will be one division.
Notre Dame will also play a 10-game conference schedule and be eligible to compete in the 2020 ACC Football Championship Game.
All television revenue for the 2020 season, including Notre Dame’s home games broadcast by NBC, will be shared equally by all 15 institutions.
The ACC Football Championship Game will be played on either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and will feature the top two teams based upon the highest conference-game winning percentage.
All 15 teams will continue to be part of the ACC’s bowl selection process. Should Notre Dame win the ACC Football Championship Game, they would be eligible for the Orange Bowl if not selected as a College Football Playoff semifinal team.
The 2020 ACC Football week-by-week schedule and television selections will be released in the future.
The outlook for ACC fall Olympic sports is as follows:
Fall Olympic sports competition may begin on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Team sports will play a conference schedule that meets the NCAA minimum amount of games: field hockey (six), women’s soccer (six), men’s soccer (six) and volleyball (10).
Schools will continue to schedule regular season cross-country competitions at their discretion.
Any additional games against conference opponents or non-conference opponents are at the respective school’s discretion, and all opponents must meet the ACC’s medical standards.
Any additional games against conference opponents that are beyond the conference-mandated schedules would not count in the ACC standings.
The schedule for ACC fall championships is as follows:
The cross-country championships will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Oct. 30, and will include all fifteen member schools.
The field hockey championship will be held at Duke University on Nov. 5, 6 and 8.
The women’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Nov. 6 and 8, as previously announced.
The men’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Nov. 13 and 15.
Television selections via the ACC’s partnership with ESPN and the ACC Network will be made in the future.
The schedule for competition for ACC winter and spring Olympic sports is as follows:
Competition in the sports of swimming and diving, indoor track and field and fencing will be postponed until at least Sept. 10.
Fall competition in the sports of men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, rowing, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball and baseball has been canceled.
Student-athletes in golf and tennis continue to be eligible to compete unattached.
Teams in all sports may continue practice at their institution’s discretion.