ACC weighing elimination of divisions

The ACC is considering eliminating divisions as early as 2023, according to reports by ESPN and other news services. 

In 2020, the ACC went without divisions in football in order to allow scheduling flexibility and to accommodate Notre Dame for the season. Clemson and Notre Dame faced off in the ACC’s title game, and the league returned to a two-division format in 2021 as well as the announced 2022 schedule.

The measure has support from ACC coaches and athletics directors, a source told the Osceola. There is no agreed upon formula for the 2023 season although different models will include permanent opponents.

This is expected to be among the topics of conversation at this week’s ACC spring meetings in Amelia Island, which will include discussions among football coaches, basketball coaches, athletics directors and administrators. Among the other expected discussion points are modifying the transfer portal calendar as well as name, image and likeness.

The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors issued what it called “guidance to schools regarding the intersection between recruiting activities and the name, image and likeness environment.” While fully supportive of athletes pursuing NIL opportunities, the board looks to achieve clarity on involvement of boosters or third-party entities.

“Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA’s statement said. “The definition could include “collectives” set up to funnel name, image and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring. NCAA recruiting rules preclude boosters from recruiting and/or providing benefits to prospective student-athletes.”

The NCAA had long passed on offering more than a few guardrails to its member schools, something it didn’t do until June 2021. And even that came a day before varying NIL laws took effect on a state-by-state basis. Florida’s law does not allow a coach or administrator to facilitate in NIL deals between a business and a student-athlete.