The ACC, which is one of the five NCAA conferences that make up the “Power 5” conferences, has announced that all 7 ACC sponsored fall sports will begin play during the week of September 7-12. This pushes back by about a week their previous competitive moratorium that was through “at least August.”
Unlike fellow Power 5s in the SEC, Big Ten, and the Pac-12, the ACC has not limited its football competition to conference only. Instead, ACC schools will play 11 games: 10 against conference opponents and one non-conference opponent.
The Big 12 has not yet announced plans for fall sports.
Competition in fall sports is allowed to begin Thursday, September 10, and teams will play a conference schedule that meets the NCAA minimum amount of games: field hockey (6), women’s soccer (6), men’s soccer (6) and volleyball (10). Schools may then schedule additional conference and non-conference competitions at their own discretion, though all opponents must meet the ACC’s medical standards.
In cross country, schools may continue to schedule at their discretion.
The conference is still on a ‘wait and see’ plan for Winter and Spring Olympic sports, allowing them to continue to practice at this point. For swimming & diving, which is a winter sport in the NCAA, competition is not allowed to start until at least September 10. While most swimming & diving competition typically begins in the last week of September or the first week of October, there are occasional meets earlier in the month. Last season, for example, Alabama (not an ACC team) swam Delta State on September 13, and many schools schedule intrasquad or alumni events in early September.
So, in effect, that September 10 date won’t have any real impact on teams’ swimming & diving plans.
Other sports, however, have traditionally begun competition in August. This year’s first intra-conference ACC football game was scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, between NC State and Louisville, so this will continue to impact teams’ schedules.
The exception is that fall competition in men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, rowing, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, and baseball have been canceled. The fall seasons of those sports are typically an exhibition season, with their formal NCAA seasons coming later in the year. Golf and tennis student-athletes will be allowed to compete unattached in the fall.
“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. 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 season’s first games will take place the week of Sept. 7-12
- The 2020 scheduling model includes 11 games (10 plus one: 10 conference and one non-conference)
- 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 December 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will feature the top two teams based upon 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
ACC Fall Olympic Sports:
- 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 (6), women’s soccer (6), men’s soccer (6) 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
- The cross country championships will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on October 30, and include all fifteen member schools
- The field hockey championship will be held at Duke University on November 5, 6 and 8
- The women’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on November 6 and 8, as previously announced
- The men’s soccer championship will include the top four teams and be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on November 13 and 15
- Television selections via the ACC’s partnership with ESPN and ACC Network will be made in the future
ACC Winter and Spring Olympic Sports:
- Competition in the sports of swimming and diving, indoor track and field and fencing will be postponed until at least September 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