There it is
Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The ACC and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish appear to have made a giant decision about the 2020 football schedule.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference recognizes the uncertain and challenging environment all areas of our society are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intercollegiate athletics is just one area that we must address as we work to return to our campuses, bring back students and faculty when possible, and pursue our academic missions and goals as part of higher education. The health, safety and well-being of all our campus constituents is at the forefront of all decisions.
With this in mind, the ACC Board of Directors announced that if public health guidance allows, all seven ACC sponsored fall sports will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12. The announcement follows several months of discussion and scenario planning among the league membership and Medical Advisory Group. Each decision is based on the best available medical guidelines and coincides with our universities’ academic missions.
“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 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 full report is available HERE.
Information specific to 2020 competition for both football and the league’s Olympic Sports is included below. 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. ACC Football:
- 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
There’s a lot to unpack there, and still no definitive dates for each game.
As far as the out of conference game for Notre Dame, it may mean that the Irish will kick the Navy Midshipmen to the side unless they commit to playing the game in Indiana (which could mean Indianapolis). Otherwise the Arkansas Razorbacks and Western Michigan Broncos could be that one game.