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College football schedules taking a hit; will Clemson and ACC be next?

Greenville News logo Greenville News 7/10/2020 Scott Keepfer, Greenville News
a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: Clemson's defense brings down Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) during the 1st quarter Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. © BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff Clemson's defense brings down Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) during the 1st quarter Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Clemson's Memorial Stadium.

So is the Atlantic Coast Conference next?

Such would appear to be a distinct possibility after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced in the past two days that football and other fall sports would play only conference games during the 2020 season.   

The ACC’s non-conference football schedules also could be on the chopping block thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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More: Pac-12 joins Big Ten with conference-only football, other sports for the fall

Clemson would stand to lose at least three football games, including its annual rivalry game against South Carolina. The Tigers and Gamecocks have played every year since 1909, a span of 111 games that ranks the rivalry as the second-longest continuous rivalry in college football. A conference-only schedule also would eliminate games scheduled against Akron on Sept. 19 and The Citadel on Nov. 14.

The Tigers also have a non-conference game at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, which might be saved.

Notre Dame is scheduled to play five other ACC teams in addition to Clemson in 2020, and ACC commissioner John Swofford said in mid-May that the league will do what it can to help keep Notre Dame’s schedule intact.

“With the relationship we have with Notre Dame, obviously, and the fact that they are already playing six games against our teams, if that was something that was best for the ACC and best for Notre Dame, we would certainly have that conversation with Notre Dame,” Swofford said.

Don't expect the ACC to hop on the conference-games-only bus without more deliberation. Swofford issued the following statement on Friday:

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators remains the ACC’s top priority. As we continue to work on the best possible path forward for the return of competition, we will do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions. Over the last few months, our conference has prepared numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season. The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July."

More: Notre Dame football schedule takes more hits with Pac-12 joining Big Ten ditching non-league games

Brett McMurphy of watchstadium.com, citing “sources,” reported early Thursday evening that “ACC football also expected to play conference-only games.”

Earlier Thursday, the ACC announced it was delaying the start of fall competition for Olympic sports until at least Sept. 1.

That announcement came on the heels of the Ivy League announcing Wednesday that it was suspending all fall sports, including football, until at least January.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement on Thursday, saying the league will continue to meet “regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisers, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to SEC fall sports.”

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: College football schedules taking a hit; will Clemson and ACC be next?

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