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ACC sets 11-game football schedule, includes Notre Dame

ACC sets 11-game football schedule, includes Notre Dame
Notre Dame, which competes in the ACC in every sport except football and hockey, will play in a football conference for the first time in the program's 133-year history this fall. File Photo by Marc Serota/UPI | License Photo

July 29 (UPI) -- The Atlantic Coast Conference Board of Directors voted Wednesday to move forward with an 11-game football season this fall that will include FBS independent Notre Dame.

The ACC announced that all seven conference-sponsored fall sports, including football, will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12. If public health guidance allows, all ACC schools and Notre Dame will play 10 conference games plus one non-conference contest of their choosing.

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The Fighting Irish also will be eligible for the ACC title game. For this season only, there will be no divisions.

"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 a statement Wednesday.

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"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."

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The non-conference game is required to take place 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 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 11 games will happen over at least 13 weeks, with two bye weeks. The ACC championship game will be played in Charlotte, N.C., on either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 and will consist of the top two teams with the highest conference winning percentages.

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The ACC shared each team's conference schedule on social media shortly after its announcement. The conference will release its full schedule at a later date.

"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."

All television revenue for the 2020 season, including Notre Dame's home games broadcast by NBC, will be shared equally between the 14 ACC schools and the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame -- which competes in the ACC in every sport except football and hockey -- will play in a football conference for the first time in the program's 133-year history. The school already had six ACC opponents on its 2020 schedule, including Clemson. The Irish added Florida State, Boston College, Pittsburgh and North Carolina to their slate.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 previously moved to conference-only schedules this fall. The Big 12 and SEC have yet to announce any changes to their football schedules in 2020.

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