ACC Announces Plan for Delayed Fall Season; Winter Sports Get Go-Ahead

University of North Carolina Swimming Women's ACC Championships Day 2 Koury Natatorium Chapel Hill, NC Thursday, Feburary 18, 2010
Koury Natatorium at the University of North Carolina Photo Courtesy: JEFFREY A. CAMARATI

The Atlantic Coast Conference Wednesday announced its plan for the college sports season in the face of COVID-19, which includes football and fall sports occurring at a slight delay. The ACC will allow winter sports like swimming and diving to start as of Sept. 10.

The plan was devised in consultation with the league’s Medical Advisory Group, which has been meeting weekly. It recommended that any athletic competition include “weekly testing for close contact sports, standards for reporting positive test results, and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing competition areas.” The ACC published a lengthy report from the Medical Advisory Group. Swimming and diving is grouped as a “low risk” sport for which, “regular testing would not be required; however, pursuant to local, state and national health guidance, testing of symptomatic members of the respective team would be required.”

“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.”

Football was the crux of the announcement, with the opening of the season delayed to Sept. 7-12. Teams will play in one division (including Notre Dame, preciously an independent) with 10 conference and one non-conference game.

Fall Olympic sports – field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball – can begin Sept. 10 with an NCAA minimum amount of conference games, and non-conference games to be added at the schools’ discretion. The announcement also allows cross country teams to compete as normal and sets the dates of ACC championships. The ACC had previously delayed fall Olympic sports to Sept. 1.

For winter sports like swimming and diving, all competition will be postponed until at least Sept. 10, which is before many programs would have started competition. Teams can continue to practice subject to the conditions and permissions by each institution. Off-season competitions (i.e. fall lacrosse, fall baseball and softball) are canceled.

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


  1. Kelly Spencer Williams

    Finally a conference that acknowledges that swimming is low risk and is allowing these kids to compete

    • Cindy Sykes Denny

      Kelly Spencer Williams 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻❤️❤️❤️

  2. Caleb Reigle

    My conference isn’t allowing any competitions in the fall at all (im on the swim team, and we can’t even have meets)

    • Matt O

      Stephanie Malcolm O’Donnell hopefully the season goes of without a hitch!

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