Jim Phillips reveals how ACC will approach West Coast travel for football, basketball

On3 imageby:Matt Connolly09/01/23


Acc Potentially Adding Smu, Cal, Stanford What's The Impact On College Football & The Conference

One of the biggest obstacles for the ACC as it explored expansion was travel.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips met with the media Friday afternoon and shared that a lot of time went into figuring out the travel piece of the additions, prior to the ACC extending invitations to Cal, Stanford and SMU.

Ultimately, Phillips believes the ACC came to a resolution that works well for everyone.

“We just had great pause about the student-athlete experience and what does that feel like, what does that look like? California and the bay area, that’s a long way. .. In the end there were countless hours and discussions with all three schools, with our schools … about how can we and how should we schedule into the future,” Phillips said.

“We want to eliminate as much of that burden on the student-athletes as we can, so we have to get creative with how we schedule.”

For football, East Coast teams will travel to the West Coast to face Cal and Stanford every other year, according to Phillips. Meanwhile, Cal and Stanford will travel East three to four times per season.

Phillips added that with Stanford not starting classes until late September, the Cardinal will play an ACC game early in the season.

As for men’s and women’s basketball, current ACC teams will take two trips West every four years and will play Cal and Stanford on those trips. Cal and Stanford will come to the East Coast three-to-four times per year, according to Phillips. Those teams will play two games each time they travel East.

Phillips added that for half of the ACC’s sports, there will be no impact to Stanford and Cal being added.

“We have 14 of our 28 sports that won’t even be affected by this move. When you think about the track and fields and the cross country and the golf, etc. They go to invitationals. They go to jamborees where you invite 10 or 12 schools from a variety of conferences and you show up,” Phillips said.

“For our Olympic sports, it’s zero to one trip per year and some won’t even go at all. The other way coming back, it’ll be three, maybe four. … We feel like for soccers and lacrosses, we can get them to come west to east, play two games, and then go back on a plane.”

Baseball and softball will be slightly different. Teams will play one weekend series and head back, rather than trying to play two series per road trip.

“For the sports of baseball and softball, we would do a weekend series and then get those teams home. So not spending an entire week on the west coast or vice versa,” Phillips said.

Everything is still being finalized, but Phillips believes the ACC is in a good spot as far as travel after a lot of time and effort.

“Feel like we’ve got a really good start and honestly did not want to move forward until we had that answered,” he said.