ACC releases statement in wake of Big Ten, Pac-12 cancellations

In the wake of the Big Ten and Pac-12 canceling their fall seasons Tuesday, attention has shifted to the three remaining power conferences that have not given up on playing this fall, including the ACC.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the ACC indicated no plans to shift course.

“The ACC will continue to make decisions based on medical advice, inclusive of our Medical Advisory Group, local and state health guidelines, and do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions,” the statement read. “The safety of our students, staff and overall campus communities will always be our top priority, and we are pleased with the protocols being administered at our 15 campuses. We will continue to follow our process that has been in place for months and has served us well. We understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information and the landscape evolves.”

ExploreBig Ten, Pac-12 decisions will have no bearing on SEC

Notably, advice to play has come from Duke medical-school professor Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease expert who is the chair of the ACC’s medical advisory group. In an interview with Sports Business Daily that was published online Tuesday, Wolfe expressed his belief that the risk of the spread of COVID-19 could be managed to the point that it would be safe to play.

”Can we safely have two teams meet on the field? I would say yes,” Wolfe said. “Will it be tough? Yes. Will it be expensive and hard and lots of work? For sure. But I do believe you can sufficiently mitigate the risk of bringing COVID onto the football field or into the training room at a level that’s no different than living as a student on campus.”

The conference issued a revised scheduling model that delayed the start of the season by a week, featured 10 conference games and one non-conference game and also included two open dates.

“We have to coexist with COVID,” Wolfe said. “I like that saying because it summarizes a reality that this virus isn’t going anywhere. Whilst it ebbs and flows, we’re not going to see it ebb to zero anytime soon.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, at least two coaches this week advocated going forward and indicated backing from decision-makers. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a Tuesday interview with ESPNU radio that he, school president Jim Clements and athletic director Dan Radakovich were all on the same page about playing this fall.

“One hundred percent,” Swinney said. “President Clements is very much for us being here and us trying to play a season.”

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said Monday that his understanding was that the ACC was moving forward, regardless of what actions other conferences took.

“What we understand is the ACC is moving forward,” Satterfield said, according to Sports Illustrated. “We are relying on our medical group that’s over the ACC, and what they are projecting with us is they are moving forward with everything.”

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