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ACC announces Notre Dame’s eligibility for conference championship in scheduling model for football, Olympic sports

| Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published online July 29.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced its conference plan for the 2020 football and Olympic sports seasons. Notre Dame will join the conference as a full participant in football for the 2020 season.

The league will play a 10-game conference football model with every participant given five home and five away contests. Notre Dame was originally slated to play six ACC opponents, all of whom remain on the schedule.

New additions to Notre Dame’s schedule include Florida State and Syracuse at home with road trips to North Carolina and Boston College. As for the Boston College game, ex-Notre Dame and new Eagles’ quarterback Phil Jurkovec could face his old team this season if granted a transfer waiver from the NCAA.

The ACC will also eliminate its divisional model for the year, following that of the Big 12 wherein the top two teams by conference record will face each other in the ACC Championship game. Notre Dame will be eligible for the conference championship as well as the conference’s automatic bid to the Orange Bowl.

The ACC will allow teams to schedule one non-conference opponent. With the Southeastern Conference’s announcement that they will engage in a 10-game, conference-only season, the Irish lose Arkansas as a potential non-conference opponent from their original schedule. Notre Dame is thus likely to choose between Western Michigan and Navy.

However, per the ACC’s policy, non-conference games must be played in the home state of the ACC team, whether at home or a neutral site. If the Irish choose to maintain their series with Navy, it will consequently have to be moved from Annapolis, MD back to South Bend for the second year in a row or elsewhere in Indiana.

For Olympic Sports, the ACC is lowering the minimum amount of required conference games. Teams are allowed to schedule extra conference and non-conference games, but all must abide by the ACC’s medical standard. Any additional conference games scheduled will not count toward a team’s place in the conference standings.

For sports relevant to Notre Dame, men’s and women’s soccer will play a minimum of six regular-season games and volleyball will have a minimum of 10. Cross country will schedule meets at the discretion of the participating schools.

The ACC is also lowering the number of teams that will be eligible for each of their conference championship games. The conference tournament for men’s and women’s soccer will only consist of the top four teams by season’s end, and volleyball’s conference champion will be decided solely by a team’s regular-season record. All 15 ACC teams will compete for the conference championship in cross country, however.

Conference football games will begin the week of Sept. 7, and Olympic Sports may begin as early as Sept. 10, although specific dates and times for contests are still to be determined.

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