ACC commissioner John Swofford said on Friday that he is in favor of conferences having “the autonomy” to determine how teams qualify for their league championship game, and should the NCAA decide this spring to lighten its restrictions, the ACC would consider a different format.
Under the current structure, the NCAA requires that each conference has an equal number of teams in each division, and every team must play each opponent in its own division. Swofford said the NCAA is likely to re-evaluate those rules this spring.
“A piece of legislation may affect what we ultimately do,” Swofford said. “… If some of those requirements were removed, we may schedule a little differently during the regular season than we do now, but that’s to be determined.”
Swofford said scheduling is always a popular topic at league meetings, and with the recent expansion to 14 teams, conference officials have been looking at how often conference teams play each other outside their divisions. If the NCAA lifted its title game requirements, Swofford said the ACC would consider having the top two teams in the league play for the ACC championship, in addition to maintaining divisions, but not requiring teams to play every opponent in their division.
“If those requirements were lifted, it gives you much more flexibility in how you schedule,” Swofford said. “I’m a proponent of the conferences having the autonomy to determine how they do those things.”
ACC officials will meet later this month, and will also continue to discuss whether the league will play eight or nine conference games, along with possible scheduling alignments with other conferences, but Swofford said nothing would change for the 2014 season.
“Any change to that, if it were to come, would be after the 2014 season,” Swofford said.
The ACC championship game’s partnership with the city of Charlotte, N.C., came to an end this season, but Swofford said the conference has been “very pleased” with the location, and the ACC is in “ongoing discussions” with Charlotte about the future.