On Wednesday, July 29, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its plan for fall sports, including a 10 conference plus one non conference game schedule for the football season. Men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, cross country and football can all begin competition the week of Sept. 7-12. Fall competition for men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis has been canceled.
The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group (MAG) has been meeting weekly and according to the release the group has recommended a set of standards for each campus to follow. These recommended standards include “weekly testing for close contact sports, standards for reporting positive test results, and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing competition areas,” according to the press release. The full report from the MAG can be found on the ACC’s website.
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a press release. “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.”
For football, all ACC schools, plus Notre Dame, will play a schedule of 10 conference games with one non conference game that must be played in the school’s home state. All non conference schools that ACC schools choose to play “must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC,” according to the press release.
All 11 games will be played over a 13-week period and each team will have two open dates. There will be only one division and the top two teams, determined by conference winning percentage will compete in the ACC Championship on either Dec. 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. All 15 teams, including Notre Dame, will be part of the ACC bowl selection process and all TV revenue, including that from Notre Dame’s home games on NBC will be shared equally between the schools.
The full week-by-week schedule will be released at a later date. NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said in a release on gopack.com that the opponents are set but the adjusted schedule is not finalized yet.
Corrigan also added in the release that it is “highly likely that a reduction of capacity for Carter-Finley Stadium will be necessary pending state guidelines.” He also added that they have prepared multiple scenarios that will be shared when a final decision is made.
According to Corrigan’s release, there will be “mobile-only ticketing for all home ticketed events.” This is to provide contact free entry to all events.
“We appreciate your patience, flexibility and steadfast support of our student-athletes with your ticket purchases and Wolfpack Club contributions as we navigate through the uncertainty,” Corrigan said in the release on gopack.com. “We will provide updates as decisions are made in the coming weeks. As I said above, we plan to use time to our advantage as much as possible in making informed decisions.”
For olympic sports, men’s and women’s soccer, cross country, and volleyball can begin competition on Thursday, Sept. 12. Fall competition for men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, softball, and baseball has been canceled. Golf and tennis student-athletes “continue to be eligible to compete unattached.”
Competition for men’s and women’s swimming and diving and indoor track and field has also been postponed until at least Sept. 10.
Men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball will both have conference schedules that meet the NCAA minimum number of games, six for soccer and 10 for volleyball. Schools are able to schedule additional competitions both against conference and non conference opponents so long as the non conference opponents “meet the ACC’s medical standards.”
Regular season competitions for cross country will be scheduled at school’s discretion.
In the release, the ACC also announced the dates, locations and formats for all fall olympic sports championships, except volleyball. The championships for cross country and both mens and women’s soccer will take place at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Cross Country will take place on Oct. 30 and feature all 15 member schools. Men’s and women’s soccer will each only feature the top four teams and will be held on Nov. 13 and 15, and Nov. 6 and 8, respectively.
“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University and the Chair of the ACC Board of Directors said in the release. “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.”