The Atlantic Coast Conference concluded its annual spring meetings recently following individual and joint sessions that included the league’s Faculty Athletic Representatives (FARs), Athletic Directors (ADs), Senior Woman Administrators (SWAs), Football Head Coaches, Men’s Basketball Head Coaches and Women’s Basketball Head Coaches.
“We continue to have tremendous dialogue among our membership regarding the state of college athletics and the challenges we’re collectively facing,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said. “Our responsibility remains with the nearly 10,000 amazing student-athletes that we are proud to represent. We had the opportunity to hear from some of our student-athletes at these meetings, and their ongoing feedback is central to the evolution of college athletics.”
Joint sessions, attended by the FARs, ADs, and SWAs, featured multiple updates and discussions related to ACC Network, NCAA, AFCA, Bowl Season, College Football Playoff, Capital One Orange Bowl, Sports Data, National Football Foundation, and College Hall of Fame, Federal Legislation and NCAA transfer portal trends.
Here is a shortlist of a few hot topics that were on the table for discussion.
• ACC football scheduling models and division-less play. With the almost certainty of division-less play beginning in 2023, this paves way for two possible scheduling models. Either two or three permanent opponents. Then, either six or seven rotating opponents resulting in more frequency in home and away match-ups for all.
Federal Legislation, Governance and Enforcement. To sum this topic up in three words. Name, Image and Likeness. It’s the hottest most diabolical, most misunderstood topic discussed. There was unanimous agreement there gave to be files, guidelines and enforcement of those guidelines. Otherwise, the demise of something we all love and our fathers loved is forthcoming.
Transfer Portal. This ties federal legislation, NIL, governance, and enforcement into one tidy package. It’s acknowledged by many administrators and leaders in college athletics the enhancement, and retooling of the transfer portal go hand and hand with the other four major issues that affect the stability of all levels of college sports.
NCAA Transformation Committee. According to multiple previous reports, the Transformation Committee is considering other groundbreaking changes as well, including removing the limits on the number of assistant coaches and allowing sports like baseball and softball to provide full scholarships for every player. It would then be up to each individual conference to enact any limitations.
Phillips said there’s also the possibility of new subdivisions being created within Division I so that schools of similar resources could compete with each other, beyond the current FBS/FCS model in football.
The Transformation Committee was supposed to have its work completed by Aug. 1, but there are questions about whether that deadline can be met. Whenever it comes to fruition, one thing seems abundantly clear — college athletics is going to look entirely different in the future than it has in the past. .
ACC, Big 10 and PAC-12 Alliance. Where is this going? Was it a stop-gap measure to stave off the overthrow of college football by the SEC or are there further things of a substantive nature that this alliance can accomplish?
And finally the big discussion, “A Two-Sun Solar System Universe.” Whether the future is to include it’s best 32, 48 or 64 programs in the country, those will be the ones operating under the umbrella of a separate, elite college football league. The other schools that don’t want to invest the same amount of resources and don’t offer the same interest, will play in a lower division. Just based on what Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said about schools aligning with the “two suns,” I would think some version of an expanded SEC will be on one side and an expanded version of the Big Ten will be on the other. Here’s a tweet from ESPN’s David Hale.
There was a lot more than sun and fun going on in Fernandina Beach last week. It will be interesting to watch the future unfold.
-Some information is courtesy of ACC.com press release
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