Sep 4, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; A detailed view of the ACC logo on the down marker used during the game between William & Mary Tribe and the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

ACC moving headquarters to Charlotte

The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its North Carolina-based headquarters from its longtime home of Greensboro to Charlotte in 2023.

The 15-member board of directors voted unanimously to make the change, the conference announced Tuesday.

The conference said in a news release that the Charlotte home base will “ensure that the conference office is best positioned for the future and changing dynamics of intercollegiate athletics.”

Among the factors that went into the decision were access to a hub airport with accessibility to all ACC member schools, and population growth of the city.

Charlotte is approaching 900,000 residents which Greensboro has about 300,000, according to census figures. Greensboro had been the ACC’s home for 69 years.

The league will transition to its new headquarters in the Bank of America tower in Uptown Charlotte during this academic year.

–Field Level Media

Jul 20, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; ACC commissioner Jim Phillips speaks to the media during ACC Media Days at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte.   Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Commissioner Jim Phillips: ACC still place to be

Commissioner Jim Phillips understands the college sports landscape will experience seismic shifts with the likes of UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas and Southern California changing conferences in the near future.

Phillips said he still believes the Atlantic Coast Conference is the place to be, but implored his peers to act with the greater good in mind instead of tending to their own “gated communities.”

“I will continue to do what’s in the best interest of the ACC,” Phillips said at the conference’s media day kickoff on Wednesday. “But will also strongly advocate for college athletics to be a healthy neighborhood, not two or three gated communities.”

Florida State and Clemson have reportedly been active in searching for a new conference, although Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey wouldn’t confirm he spoke with other schools about joining college football’s most dominant league. Sankey also said this week he’s in opposition to expansion of the College Football Playoff — also dominated by SEC powers the likes of Alabama and Georgia — while Phillips said in a rebuttal it’s time to push the playoff to include at-large bids.

“The ACC continues to be supportive of an expanded College Football Playoff. I’m confident our concerns will be addressed and a new model with greater access will ultimately come to pass,” said Phillips, the former Northwestern athletic director.

FOX and ESPN are heavily involved in monetary gains for major conferences and SEC schools could be clearing more than $40 million or $50 million more than ACC schools as soon as the upcoming academic year, Yahoo Sports reported. Phillips acknowledged there is a gap — though he stopped well short of defining the delta — and said “all options are on the table” with regard to ways he’ll consider enticing current ACC members to stick around.

“Any new structure of the NCAA must serve the many, not a collective few,” Phillips said. “We are not the professional ranks. This isn’t the NFL or NBA Lite. This shouldn’t be a winner-take-all or zero-sum structure. College sports have never been elitist or singularly commercial.”

The Big Ten, with widening digital and broadcast markets to include Los Angeles schools UCLA and USC by 2024, could be set to pay as much as $100 million per school by that time, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Current agreements paid ACC schools $35 million to $40 million each in 2021.

“I love our 15 schools and I’m confident in us staying together,” Phillips said. “We continue to remain close in Notre Dame, they know how we feel, they know we’d love to have them as a football member in our conference but I also respect their independence.”

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he is not worried — or breaking any type of news when he declares players don’t come to his program because of the conference.

“Whether the ACC goes to 52 teams or we move to a new ‘megatron-world conference’, I don’t really know,” Swinney said. “But people have never come to Clemson because of the league, honestly. People come to Clemson because we’re Clemson.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; A view of the field with the ACC logo in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

ACC to scrap divisions after 2022 season

The 2022 season will be the last featuring divisions in the ACC, which announced a new scheduling format Tuesday.

The league is adopting a 3-5-5 format beginning in 2023, when every team will play three permanent rivalry games each season and rotate through the other 10 teams every other year.

“The future ACC football scheduling model provides significant enhancements for our schools and conference, with the most important being our student-athletes having the opportunity to play every school both home and away over a four-year period,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time.”

At the end of the regular season, the top two teams (by conference winning percentage) will meet in the ACC title game on the first Saturday in December.

The ACC is the latest league to do away with divisions, joining the Big 12 (2011), American (2021), Pac-12 (2023) and Mountain West (2023).

According to ESPN, Pittsburgh will have the easiest slate against permanent rivals while Georgia Tech the toughest.

ACC permanent rivalries:

Boston College: Miami, Pitt, Syracuse
Clemson: FSU, Georgia Tech, NC State
Duke: UNC, NC State, Wake Forest
Florida State: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse
Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest
Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia
Miami: BC, FSU, Louisville
North Carolina: Duke, NC State, Virginia
NC State: Clemson, Duke, UNC
Pitt: BC, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
Syracuse: BC, FSU, Pitt
Virginia: Louisville, UNC, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech: Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest
Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of the Pac-12 conference logo on the field prior to the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 not considering expansion ‘at this time’

The Pac-12 is content being a family of 12.

The conference issued a statement Thursday indicating it isn’t looking to expand, dealing a blow to schools in the Big 12 seeking to follow Oklahoma and Texas out of the league and into another conference.

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told The Athletic on Tuesday that conference officials had been considering expansion and would come to a quick decision.

That decision came Thursday.

“Following consultation with our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors, the Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to not pursue expansion of our membership at this time,” the statement read. “This decision was made following extensive internal discussion and analysis, and is based on the current competitive strength and cohesiveness of our 12 universities. It is also grounded in our confidence in our ability as a conference to best support our student-athletes and to grow and thrive both academically and athletically.”

The Pac-12 agreed Tuesday to form a strategic alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten, with the 41 schools working together on things such as scheduling, legislative issues and concern for student-athletes.

With the pending departure of marquee programs Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 and the eight committed member institutions face an uncertain future.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; ACC commissioner Jim Phillips speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 make conference alliance official

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 cemented their athletics alliance Tuesday, announcing their plan to have 41 universities work together on elements from scheduling to the well-being of student-athletes amid a time of upheaval in college sports.

This summer has seen laws take effect that allow student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, as well as the departure of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference.

“There is turbulence right now in college athletics. There are things we need to address,” said Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big Ten, at a virtual news conference. “We need to have strong leadership. We need to work together.”

Under the deal, the three conferences will increase interconference scheduling among themselves for football and men’s and women’s basketball while honoring existing contracts.

There isn’t a legal contract between the conferences. In effect, it is a gentleman’s agreement between Warren, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff and ACC commissioner Jim Phillips.

“There is no signed document, and there doesn’t need to be,” Kliavkoff said. “There is a commitment from three commissioners and 41 presidents and athletics directors.”

Phillips agreed.

“It’s about trust. We’ve looked each other in the eye and made an agreement,” he said. “Our board chairs have looked each other in the eye. … If that’s what it takes to get something considerable done, then we’ve lost our way.”

Combined, the three conferences have more than 27,000 student-athletes competing on 863 teams in 31 sports.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions athletic director Sandy Barbour prior to the game against the Seton Hall Pirates at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State AD says conference alliance is not just about money

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour told the media Saturday the Big Ten considers more than money when making decisions, including its potential alliance with the ACC and Pac-12.

She said the conference “prides” itself on being about more than athletics.

The Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are discussing a potential alliance moving forward about many issues regarding college sports. The move is a reaction to Texas and Oklahoma’s announcement that they are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

“I’m not trying to downplay the importance of value as it relates to upsizing our revenues — that certainly is important — but that’s not the only reason,” Barbour said. “And I think that there are some reasons around like-mindedness that would be very valuable to the conference.”

The alliance could be announced as early as next week, according to reports on Friday, but the three conferences still have many things to discuss and agree on.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; A view of the field with the ACC logo in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

ACC unveils forfeit policy for player shortages due to COVID

The Atlantic Coast Conference on Thursday announced that teams that are unable to play games this season due to COVID-related player shortages will be forced to forfeit the game.

In that event, the opponent will be credited with a victory while the forfeiting team takes a loss in the conference standings. The Pac-12 and Big 12 recently announced a similar standard within their respective leagues.

If both teams are unable to field a team for a game, both will take losses in the ACC standings.

The conference also unveiled a three-pronged policy for testing:
— Fully vaccinated players are not subject to regular testing.
— Unvaccinated athletes on teams with vaccine rates below that 85-percent threshold must be tested at least three times per week.
— Unvaccinated athletes on a team with a vaccination rate of at least 85 percent must be tested once per week.

Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Boston College are requiring all students to be vaccinated unless there are mitigating reasons.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; PAC-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks to the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Report: ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 discussing potential alliance

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are discussing an alliance that will include scheduling and legislation, according to The Athletic.

The report says ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff have been talking for multiple weeks.

“I’ve been in frequent and regular contact with all of the other A5 commissioners the last few weeks about the complex issues that are facing the industry,” Kliavkoff told The Athletic. He added, there is “nothing to report on this specific matter at this time.”

There is no timeline for when the alliance could be finalized and announced.

The main aspect of the alliance would be the three conferences voting together as a bloc on major issues.

The alliance is a reaction to Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC.

The Big 12 is not being considered for the alliance. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Kliavkoff met last week.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; A view of the ACC logo on the field prior to the game between the Clemson Tigers and the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

ACC to allow transfers within conference

Dec 20, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith (81) runs after a catch before being hit by Detroit Lions strong safety Duron Harmon (26) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s board of directors voted unanimously Monday to eliminate the league’s intraconference transfer rule.

Created in 1996, the rule required student-athletes without a degree to sit out one year if they were moving from one ACC school to another.

Monday’s vote was not surprising, as the NCAA is expected to grant all student-athletes a one-time transfer with immediate eligibility in all sports.

“The time has come for all student-athletes to have the opportunity to transfer and be permitted to compete immediately,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement Monday. “This decision is in the best interest of our student-athletes as it allows greater flexibility during their collegiate career.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney receives the championship trophy from Commissioner John Swofford in the 2019 ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

ACC returns to normal, Notre Dame independent again in ’21

The Atlantic Coast Conference hopes to restore a sense of normalcy to the 2021 college football season.

The league optimistically released its schedule Thursday, returning to a two-division format (Atlantic and Coastal) with members playing eight ACC games and four non-conference games.

Notre Dame, which played as a full member amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, returns to its traditional independent status and will play five games against ACC opponents.

“The return to a traditional schedule is contingent on national, state and local health guidelines allowing such competition to occur,” the league cautioned in its press release.

The ACC schedule kicks off on Labor Day weekend with games each day from Thursday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 6.

That includes two neutral site games in Atlanta as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff series. Miami will face defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 4 and Louisville will take on Ole Miss on Sept. 6.

Clemson, winner of six consecutive ACC championships, opens the post-Trevor Lawrence era against Georgia in the Duke’s Mayo Classic on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Notre Dame’s five ACC contests includes three road games: Sept. 5 at Florida State, Oct. 9 at Virginia Tech and Nov. 13 at Virginia. The Fighting Irish will host North Carolina on Oct. 30 and Georgia Tech on Nov. 20.

The 2021 schedule includes 13 playing weekends, giving each school one open date and potential flexibility should interruptions arise.

The ACC Championship Game will take place in Charlotte on Dec. 4.

–Field Level Media