ACC coaches meet to discuss 18-game schedule

May, 8, 2009
ACC coaches will meet Sunday through Tuesday in Amelia Island, Fla., with an 18-game schedule and a two-division format up for discussion for the 2011-12 season.

ACC associate commissioner Karl Hicks said Friday that if the league is going to increase its conference schedule from 16 to 18 games, the decision has to be made at this meeting because schools would need advance notice to adjust their nonconference tournament commitments.

Hicks also said if the schedule is changed, it would have to be done in advance of the league's new television contract, which will be up for negotiations with its partners ESPN/ABC, CBS and Fox next year. The current contract ends after the 2010-11 season.

The ACC talked about increasing the number of conference games two seasons ago but decided to stay put. That might be the decision again.

The ACC, Big 12 and SEC are the three of the "big six" conferences that play a 16-game schedule. The Pac-10, Big East and Big Ten play 18 games; the latter two increased to that total a year ago.

The current scheduling format calls for every school to have two primary partners it plays twice each. Then they play the other nine schools either home or on the road and then home and road in one year for a select number of schools. The current schedule is on a three-year rotation.

Hicks said if the ACC went to 18 league games, it would add another primary partner which each school would always play twice.

Hicks said the division concept is separate from the 18-game schedule.

The ACC has two divisions in football: the Atlantic and the Coastal. The Atlantic has Florida State, Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest, Clemson and NC State. The Coastal has Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg said he's against the divisional concept because it hasn't proven to work out well in football. He said you couldn't have a basketball division with Duke and North Carolina in the same half because they've been so dominant in winning the league recently. He's also against an 18-game schedule because it would limit the opportunities for nonconference games. Greenberg said the NCAA tournament selection committee has shown they don't value more conference games. Instead, they put more emphasis on nonconference schedules that schools can control.

Greenberg wants a new formula for the 16 games. He'd like to see 11 games against every team and then five more that are randomly rotated every season. He isn't for locking in two teams playing twice every season. But television partners, and the schools themselves, would likely demand that Duke and Carolina have to play twice. The same is probably true of Virginia Tech and Virginia, not because of TV demands, but due to the two administrations.

The ACC's imbalanced schedule always has imperfections. This past season, Clemson beat Duke at home but didn't have to go to Cameron. Wake Forest beat North Carolina in Winston-Salem but didn't have to go to Chapel Hill.

If the league went to divisions, the ACC tournament would also be affected. Hicks said there are two models for the coaches: one in which the division winners are seeded 1 and 2 and another one that's similar to the SEC model, which has an East 1 and West 1 as co-equals in seeding. The SEC has divisions in football and basketball.

The Big 12 has one division in basketball, but its scheduling format is like the SEC's divisional rotation (each team plays the team in its football division twice and the other side once: three home and three road).

North Carolina coach Roy Williams will be at the meeting Sunday but will depart Monday for a White House visit with the national champion Tar Heels. But Williams is expected to share his views on the scheduling topic before Monday's meeting.

The league is also expected to discuss the new NCAA draft rule of withdrawing by May 8, 2010, legislation that was originally proposed by the ACC. The first proposal called for underclassmen to declare and withdraw from the draft within two weeks after the Final Four. The NBA early-entry declaration deadline is April 26, and the NBA's withdrawal date is June 15.

But beginning next year, the NCAA will demand a player withdraw on May 8 if he wants to return to school. The NBA and NCAA are still figuring out how that will be conveyed, since the NBA's deadline of June 15 won't change until the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated in 2011.

• Duke is hoping Liberty transfer Seth Curry will be on the U-19 team competing in New Zealand this July so he can get game experience. Curry will sit out next season as a transfer and will likely be the starting lead guard on the 2010-11 Blue Devils. The U-19 team is coached by Pitt's Jamie Dixon with Purdue's Matt Painter and Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery assisting him. The trials for the team will be June 16-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

• The World University Games team, which will play in Serbia, will hold its trials at the same time. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is the head coach. Miami's Frank Haith will be one of the assistants, with the other two still to be determined. Invitations for the trials are going out, and at least two players from Duke -- Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer -- have been invited. The WUG team is expected to draw some of the top upperclassmen in the country, and the U-19 could do the same.

• One big-name player that won't be at the trials is Derrick Favors, the highly touted incoming freshman at Georgia Tech. Head coach Paul Hewitt said Friday that Favors will be in summer school, and that he chose to work on his game on campus instead of playing USA Basketball this summer.

• Georgia Tech got dinged with two scholarships being taken away for a poor APR report. Tech officials said these were handled this past season (Indiana anticipated it as well and did the same thing). Hewitt was concerned, but said the poor APR was not "reflective of the effort at Georgia Tech. We've made the adjustments and moved forward. It's a one-time blip. We're disappointed, but it doesn't reflect the lack of emphasis in academics. [In the fall semester], we had six guys on the dean's list, and this semester we had two or three. An adjustment was made and we're back on track."

• IUPUI lost three scholarships due to a poor APR. An IUPUI spokesperson said two scholarships were lost because two players performed poorly from 2007-08, while a third was lost because IUPUI didn't meet the numeric goals set in a single-year academic improvement plan established a year ago.

• The Pac-10 meetings last week in Phoenix didn't prove newsworthy. The meetings dealt primarily with the new draft rule (a withdrawal date of May 8, 2010) and the lack of April evaluations. There was no discussion of any scheduling changes or proposals for new legislation.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer


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