Amelia Island, Florida – The ACC is close to adopting a new football scheduling format that would eliminate divisions and give teams a chance to play each other more frequently, starting in 2023.
Although no vote for the format change was formally taken, Commissioner Jim Phillips and several athletic directors discussed a 3-5-5 scheduling model in which league teams play three permanent opponents, then rotate the rest over a two-year period (five one year, five the next) .
Earlier this week, the NCAA Football Oversight Committee recommended that conferences no longer need to be held because divisions have a conference championship game. The first division council is due to vote on it later this month, when it is expected to pass.
Phillips repeatedly said that conventions should have the right to determine a convention champion, and he was in favor of passing the legislation needed to make that happen. Phillips discussed the new scheduling format with announcements and coaches during league meetings to get their feedback.
“Two drivers, I think, for this: the first, it’s an opportunity for our student-athletes to play every school in the ACC over a four-year period,” Phillips said. “That’s not the case at the moment. The other part is that I’ve always felt like it’s a local decision about how to handle your conference. You see that across multiple conferences they want to dictate what the tournament structure looks like, and it’s ultimately going to expand the scope of a football match separator foot.
“You want your two best teams to have the chance to play at the end of the year for a lot of reasons. That’s why it took us…you might think it’s a little bit longer, but it really isn’t. We’re really on the right track. But again, do you want to make sure that we We talked to everyone to see, are we missing something here?”
When Phillips became the commissioner, he said he wanted to reevaluate everything within the ACC, and that would include scheduling coordination.
Miami Games director Dan Radakovic said he believed the league was “closer to the end than the beginning at the time.
“We need to talk a little bit to our TV partners and see what they’re thinking and then run it to the car wash again,” Radjakovic said. “It is not necessary to do it now because even if we decide to move forward in 2023, there is plenty of time to get it done. We want to deliberate on it and make sure we do it the right way.”
There is also acknowledgment that there will be trade-offs that programs will have to make when it comes to the perennial opponents that each team is assigned to – this is one area that is still being discussed.
Coaches don’t unanimously agree to get rid of splits. Many people, including Pete Nardozy’s coach, would love to have the chance to play in the division’s tournament. The coaches have had the opportunity to provide feedback, but in the end, it is the coaches who will vote on what happens.
“You’re not going to create a model that all 14 schools are happy with,” said Dave Clawson, Wake Forest coach. “We’ve been playing NC State 105 years in a row, and if you go into that form and they’re not yours [annual rivals]It can change.”
Maximizing attractive matches across the league is another area where the ACC sees room for growth without divisions, so there have been extensive discussions with ESPN about what that could mean for television, and in particular, primetime matches.
In addition to changing its scheduling model, Phillips said it was now time to “take a look” at alternative models for college football management. The sport which is the biggest revenue driver on every campus, has been heavily influenced by all the recent changes in college athletics – from name, image and likeness rights to the transfer portal.
Just last week, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith suggested that 10 FBS conferences be held and Notre Dame operates under the college football playoffs, while all other sports remain on the NCAA model.
Phillips was open to hearing more about this idea, as well as exploring others.
“If we’re going to do something, now is the time to do it,” Phillips said. “When you reorganize a structure like the NCAA, what do you do with football? Do you need to manage it separately? Do you need a governance structure? These are questions we have to ask ourselves.
“Either you continue down the path you were on, or you try to do something different. What is the most sustainable thing? What has the opportunity to help football move forward? There has been a really slow creep with football – right? Special Tournament It has all the things needed to run the second most watched sporting event in the United States.
“So is there an opportunity to look at what it might be, if you were to bring back the NCAA and everything the NCAA is interested in. Maybe there is something parallel that could have some interaction, but has some independent ability to it.”
Phillips also appears to be indicating an openness to discussing the possibility of paying football players directly as school staff.
In 2014, Phillips was Northwestern’s sporting director when a group of soccer players, led by quarterback Ken Coulter, attempted to join a union. At the time, Phillips opposed the effort, which was ultimately defeated when the National Labor Relations Board decided that athletes were not employees.
On Wednesday, Phillips seemed less certain about that rating.
“We all have a responsibility to move in the direction that college football is going,” Phillips said, noting that there is some sentiment that current compensation is already overstepping the mark in pay-to-play.
“Experience is linked to education, degree completion and academics. What are the benefits is what we are striving for – to find common ground on what we feel would be a good fit and what puts us in a different category than team sports.”
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