ACC approves 11-game slate with Notre Dame as member

The Atlantic Coast Conference board of directors approved an 11-game football season for 2020 that includes Notre Dame as a full member of the league.

The schedule, announced Wednesday, could be affected by developments involving the coronavirus pandemic. The slate would begin the weekend of Sept. 12 and include 10 conference games and one nonconference contest per team.

Notre Dame has been an independent in football but is a member of the ACC in most other sports, including men’s and women’s basketball. The Fighting Irish were slated to play six ACC teams prior to Wednesday’s announcement.

Notre Dame also will be eligible to play in the ACC championship game, which will be held either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 in Charlotte, N.C. For this year only, the ACC is doing away with its two divisions, with the top two overall teams advancing to Charlotte.

“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “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 is striving to play the 11-game slate over a 13-week span with two bye weeks for each school. The conference will reveal the schedule at a later date but did reveal which teams will play each other.

Notre Dame already had home games against Duke, Clemson and Louisville, road games against Pittsburgh and Georgia and a neutral-field contest against Wake Forest in Charlotte on the schedule.

The additional opponents named on Wednesday are Florida State and Syracuse at home, and Boston College and North Carolina on the road.

Other ACC fall sports will be allowed to start their seasons on Sept. 10, with the understanding that plans could change quickly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” said Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud, 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.”

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