The ACC has reached a plan regarding fall sports competition.
In an official release Wednesday afternoon, the conference announced that "if public health guidance allows" all fall sports will begin the week of Sept. 7-12. In addition, football will play an 11-game schedule that includes 10 conference contests and one nonconference foe chosen by the school, with that nonconference matchup taking place in the home state of the ACC institution.
Shortly after the official release, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach tweeted out an "anticipated fall schedule," with Duke's opponents later confirmed in a release from the athletic department.
The ACC's release stated that specific week-by-week schedule and television selections for the conference "will be released in the future."
Compared to its original 2020 schedule, Duke adds Florida State and Boston College to its home conference slate, adds Syracuse to its road slate and moves its matchup with Virginia from a home game to a road contest. The Blue Devils no longer play at Miami or Pittsburgh, and their trip to Notre Dame becomes a conference matchup.
Duke's lone nonconference opponent for this season will be determined at a later date, according to the release from Duke Athletics. The team's original schedule included home games against Middle Tennessee, Elon and Charlotte.
Other changes to the football campaign include shrinking the conference to one division, with the top two teams going to the ACC Championship Game, as well as including Notre Dame within the conference standings. The Fighting Irish will play a 10-game conference schedule along with the other 14 ACC schools and will be eligible for both the ACC Championship and the conference's Orange Bowl bid, should they win the conference championship. All television revenue, including Notre Dame's home games aired on NBC, will be split equally between each school.
“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” Syracuse Chancellor and Chair of the ACC Board of Directors Kent Syverud said. “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.”
Olympic sports will be eligible to begin no earlier than Sept. 10, with each sport playing a conference schedule that meets the NCAA minimum amount of games: six for field hockey, women's soccer and men's soccer and 10 for volleyball. Any additional conference or nonconference matchups will be up to the discretion of each school, though the additional ACC games would not count in the conference standings. Regular-season cross country meets—outside of the ACC Championships and NCAA-sponsored meets—will continue to be scheduled by schools at their discretion.
The ACC has cancelled fall competition for men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, softball and baseball, among other sports that may play unofficial games or tournaments in the fall.
Furthermore, the ACC's Medical Advisory Group has recommended minimum standards for each campus to follow as fall sports return, such as weekly testing for close contact sports, standards for reporting positive test results and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing completion areas.
The official announcement also added that "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."
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “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.”
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.