ACC unveils expansion schedule plan

Updated: February 3, 2012, 3:59 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference will play a nine-game schedule in football and every team will compete in the ACC basketball tournaments once Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the league.

The league announced Friday how it will incorporate the schools once they leave the Big East Conference. ACC commissioner John Swofford said Friday it's still unclear when that will happen since Big East bylaws require a 27-month notice for a school to leave.

"This just puts us in position of being further ready to accept them competitively as soon as they can join and as soon as that's worked out between the two schools and the Big East," Swofford said.

The conference's annual winter meetings marked the first time representatives from Syracuse and Pittsburgh were involved in ACC discussions. They couldn't vote because they're not yet full members, though Swofford said each school was "a full participant" and "they were supportive of everything that was done."

The league will leave its division alignments in place for football. Syracuse will join the Atlantic Division and Pittsburgh will join the Coastal. The two will serve as cross-division partners for scheduling purposes, meaning they'll play every year.

In basketball, the league assigns partners to ensure two schools play each other twice every year. Once the league expands to 14 teams, the partners will be: Boston College-Syracuse, Clemson-Georgia Tech, Duke-North Carolina, Florida State-Miami, Maryland-Pittsburgh, North Carolina State-Wake Forest and Virginia-Virginia Tech.

The league previously announced it would play an 18-game basketball schedule next season regardless of whether the schools have joined by then.

Swofford said league schools decided on the expanded conference schedules because "you want to see and play each other as much as possible."

In Olympic sports, all teams will play each conference team at least once except in baseball, which currently doesn't play all league opponents.

The addition of Pittsburgh will give the league four gymnastics programs, the number required to hold a conference championship event. The league held a gymnastics championship in 1984.

Volleyball will be the only league sport that won't hold a championship event or tournament. The sport will continue to recognize its champion through regular-season play.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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