The ACC has decided to delay the start of competition for fall sports until at least Sept. 1, the conference announced Thursday.
The decision, which was unanimously approved by the ACC Board of Directors, affects Olympic sports like cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball — all of which began in late August in 2019. ACC women’s soccer teams, for example, opened non-conference play on Aug. 22, 2019.
The move does not have an impact on football, however. The first ACC football game of the season — NC State at Louisville — is scheduled for Sept. 2.
The decision was made due to the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It will impact exhibition and non-conference games in the aforementioned sports.
“The decision allows each campus to further focus on ensuring return to competition protocols are in place to facilitate the resocialization process,” the conference said.
With the move, the ACC is the first Power Five conference to implement a delay to any of its fall sports seasons. The Patriot League previously pushed its start date to Sept. 4 while the Ivy League canceled all fall competition on Wednesday.
The ACC said its members will continue implementing their own return to competition protocols with the goal of playing a fall season. The league acknowledged there could be future changes to schedules.
“The league continues to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on fall schedules and competitions with the understanding that there may be future changes, and that the priority remains the health and safety of our student-athletes,” the conference said.
Several ACC universities have seen a significant number of positive COVID-19 tests in recent weeks. On Wednesday, North Carolina paused its voluntary workouts after 37 people within UNC athletics tested positive. As a result, the football program will shut down its workouts for at least a week.
Elsewhere, Clemson reported in late June that the total positive tests among the athletic department was 47, with 37 coming from the football team.
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