ACC to review schedule format at league meetings

Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross wants a change to the

Atlantic Coast Conference’s current eight-game league schedule and

league officials will discuss the possibility during meetings in

late January.

Gross raised the possibility in email to the league’s athletic

directors and Commissioner John Swofford. The email was obtained by

The Associated Press through a public records request and it calls

for a discussion on the subject due to the large time gap between

road games involving cross-division teams.

The Syracuse AD contends that certain programs are at a

disadvantage when the schedule keeps them from regularly playing in

major markets such as Boston, Atlanta and Miami.

One Gross suggestion is to have a nine-game conference schedule.

The five conference teams that are left off one year must be on the

schedule the following season.

That would likely eliminate some of the yearly rivalry games

like Florida State-Miami.

”There are some playing-partner scheduling that simply don’t

need to be maintained,” Gross wrote. ”In fact I believe it would

be in the best interest to prioritize playing multiple members of

the conference over having a playing-partner.

”I do understand creating rivalry inventory however it may be

better to be more creative with the rivalry concept annually than

to force them over the long term.”

North Carolina State athletic director Deborah Yow responded to

Gross’ email and confirmed that the topic will be placed on the

agenda. She declined to elaborate on the subject when contacted by

the AP.

Gross also declined to go into detail about the email when

contacted by the AP, saying in a text, ”It would be inappropriate

for me to comment on working group conference items.”

The eight-game format dictates that each team plays its entire

division every year. There is also one standing game against an

opponent from the opposite division. For example, Florida State

plays Miami every year as does North Carolina State and North

Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. Each team also rotates through

programs from the opposite division both home and away.

So, Syracuse played Georgia Tech in Atlanta this season but the

Orange won’t return for that game until 2027 at the earliest. Gross

said this limits the exposure of teams in certain major

markets.

Gross also believes there is also an effect on recruiting. He

used Miami, known as a hotbed for talent, as an example. Teams from

the Atlantic Division, except Florida State, have large gaps

between games in Miami.

”The thought of a student-athlete returning to his home area to

play in front of his family is minimized in one division and

maximized in the other,” Gross wrote.

Gross did have a section of the email labeled ”Final Thoughts”

that stated, ”If we played everyone in the league equally our

schedules would be much more robust giving our fans diverse

schedules annually. Also our student-athletes would get exposures

in all markets of the conference. Lastly we could maximize our

television inventory by offering multiple and fresh

match-ups.”

Associated Press Writer Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Fla., AP

Sports Writers John Kekis in Syracuse, NY and Aaron Beard in

Raleigh, N.C. contributed to this report.