The ACC has no plans to move to three divisions if the NCAA passes conference championship deregulation.
CBSSports.com reported last week that deregulation was expected to pass by 2016 and the site quoted Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby as stating that he thought the ACC would use the opportunity to move to three divisions.
ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com that there’s no truth to those rumors.
"Our purpose behind initiating that discussion was really not about anything specific we would necessarily do, but based on the whole deregulation of a number of NCAA issues in recent years," Swofford told ESPN.com. "We said over and over again that doesn't mean we would necessarily change anything within our own league.
"We just feel conferences should have the opportunity to do that both in terms of the number of teams in a league and whether you can have a championship as well as how you determine which teams play in that championship game. During these conversations, we haven't had any real discussion about a three-division ACC. That has never had any legs in our discussions and so far, any change to what we're doing now has not had any real legs."
The ACC and the Big 12 submitted the legislation last year to change the rule that requires conferences to have 12 teams to host a conference championship game. The Big 12’s motive is obvious. It has only 10 teams and has maintained that it didn’t need a championship game since every team plays every other team throughout the season. However, the lack of a conference title game came back to bite the Big 12 when the College Football Playoff committee cited that as one of the reasons the Big 12 was shut out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Since then, Bowlsby has said his conference has discussed multiple options, from this new regulation to expansion, as a way to rectify the problem.
The ACC’s decision to join the deregulation plight was a little baffling. The conference has 14 teams and a conference title game that has served it well in past seasons.
Swofford told ESPN.com that he’s pushing for this legislation as a matter of principle, not to enact some radical change to his conference.
"I think the fact that we were supporting this in principle and felt it was the right route to go, it gives people the impression that we have a specific direction we would take things in in our league that's different than what we're currently doing," Swofford told ESPN.com. "That's just not the case."
The new legislation will be discussed at an NCAA Football Oversight Committee meeting later this month. Bowlsby is the chairman of that committee. Final approval would come from the NCAA Council.
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