ACC could postpone football season if fewer than 8 teams are available to play

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Given all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the ACC has a list of considerations in place that could potentially trigger the postponement of the season, including the likely cancellation of the national championship and other postseason opportunities.

According to a document Virginia Tech released Saturday related to the postponement of its game against Virginia, at least eight of the 15 ACC football teams need to move forward with games in order for the season to continue. Anything below that threshold could lead to a postponement.

But perhaps the most interesting consideration is this: If either the SEC or Big 12 discontinues its plans to play football in the fall, along with likely postseason cancellations, the ACC would have to determine whether to continue forward.

Any decision about the status of the season rests with the ACC board of directors, comprising the league's presidents and chancellors.

It is important to note that the ACC began play this week, and the ACC board of directors issued a statement reiterating its intention to move forward with a fall season as long as health and safety considerations allow. The statement also noted, "The ACC will regularly monitor the changing situation and is prepared at any time to adjust schedules and games to reflect changes in that situation. The ACC will also respect the decisions of individual schools as they continually assess the public health situation affecting their students and communities. As it has done all year, the ACC will carefully reevaluate the public health needs as we go along, relying on public health expertise and putting the health and safety of our surrounding communities at the center of our decision-making."

If those conditions change, these are the other considerations that will be monitored:

  • Prohibitive policies implemented by state, local and campus health authorities or leadership.

  • Campus disruption that would not allow practices or competition to continue.

  • COVID-19 clusters (as defined by the institution and/or local public health officials) within multiple teams that result in full discontinuation of the season rather than limited isolation of participants.

  • An inability to travel safely and compete in away venues without contracting or spreading COVID-19.

So far, two ACC games have been postponed because of coronavirus considerations, both involving Virginia Tech.

Though the league does not have a minimum roster requirement to play a game, there are guidelines in place for a game to be played as scheduled.

Among them: "an adequate number" of players available and at least seven scholarship offensive linemen dressed and available to play.