UNC wouldn't be recognized as the ACC Coastal Division champion, but Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said it remains a goal to win the division. ROBERT WILLETT
CHAPEL HILL — The ACC on Wednesday sent out a news release at the conclusion of its fall business meetings. The league announced new scheduling formats for football – the conference will continue to play eight league games given the partial ACC schedule that Notre Dame will play when it joins the league in all other sports – and it announced a two-primary partner scheduling model in men’s basketball.
North Carolina’s partners, by the way, will be Duke and N.C. State, which preserves the home-and-home series against the Wolfpack that has existed for nearly 100 years. A paragraph at the bottom of the release, though, brought clarity to whether the Tar Heels’ football team would be eligible to win the Coastal Division this season, despite serving a postseason ban.
Here’s that graph:
“The decision was made that should a member institution be ineligible for postseason competition due to NCAA sanctions, it will be ineligible for regular season or divisional recognition.”
So there you have it. This doesn’t mention UNC by name, of course, but the league office had been receiving questions about whether the Tar Heels would be eligible to win the Coastal, even if they aren’t eligible to represent it in the ACC championship game, or in a postseason bowl game.
UNC coach Larry Fedora spoke of the ACC’s decision on Wednesday after practice, and he said the league’s ruling doesn’t affect his team’s goal of winning the Coastal.
“We’re going to compete for it, and that’s still our goal,” he said. “… So it doesn’t change anything for us.”
Asked if he’d consider the Tar Heels the division champions if they finished atop the Coastal, Fedora said, “No doubt about it.”
UNC, which lost its ACC opener at Wake Forest, can put itself back in the division race with a victory on Saturday against Virginia Tech.