Commissioner John Swofford
|Division Division I FBS|
Founded 8 May 1953
|Sports fielded 27 (men's: 13; women's: 14)|
Region South South Atlantic East South Central Northeast Mid-Atlantic New England Midwest (except football) East North Central (except football)
Headquarters North Carolina, United States
Association National Collegiate Athletic Association
Founders Frank McGuire, Everett Case
Teams Clemson Tigers football, Florida State Seminole, Duke Blue Devils men's ba, Virginia Tech Hokies fo, Louisville Cardinals football
Similar National Collegiate Athletic A, Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference, Boston College, University of Notre Dame
Songs of the atlantic coast conference
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic conference in the United States of America in which its fifteen member universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I, with its football teams competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest levels for athletic competition in US-based collegiate sports. The ACC sponsors competition in twenty-five sports with many of its member institutions' athletic programs held in high regard nationally.
- Songs of the atlantic coast conference
- A sample of sound tobacco road edition atlantic coast conference
- Current members
- Former members
- Membership timeline
- NCAA team championships
- Capital One Cup standings
- Womens sponsored sports by school
- Mens sponsored sports by school
- Champions for current academic year
- Tournament as championship
- Present day schedule
- National championships and Final Fours
- Field hockey
- Non Conference
- Bowl games
- National championships
ACC teams and athletes have claimed dozens of national championships in multiple sports throughout the conference's history. Generally, the ACC's top athletes and teams in any particular sport in a given year are considered to be among the top collegiate competitors in the nation. Also, the conference enjoys extensive media coverage. The ACC was one of the six collegiate power conferences, which had automatic qualifying for their football champion into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). With the advent of the College Football Playoff in 2014, the ACC is one of five conferences with a contractual tie-in to an "access bowl", the successors to the BCS.
Founded on May 8, 1953 in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Sedgefield Country Club, by seven universities located in the South Atlantic States, the conference added additional members in December 1953 (Virginia), 1978 (Georgia Tech), 1992 (Florida State), 2004 (Miami, Fl. & Virginia Tech), 2005 (Boston College), 2013 (Notre Dame & Syracuse) and 2014 (Louisville). The additions in recent years extended the conference's footprint into the Northeast and Midwest. The most recent expansion in 2013 saw the additions of the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, and Syracuse University. In 2012, the University of Maryland's Board of Regents voted to withdraw from the ACC to join the Big Ten Conference effective July 1, 2014. On November 28, 2012, the ACC's Council of Presidents voted unanimously to invite the University of Louisville as a full member, replacing Maryland effective July 1, 2014.
ACC member universities represent a range of well-regarded private and public universities of various enrollment sizes, all of which participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Consortium whose purpose is to "enrich the educational missions, especially the undergraduate student experiences, of member universities".
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Seven universities in the South Atlantic States were charter members of the ACC: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. Previously members of the Southern Conference, they left partially due to that league's ban on post-season football play. After drafting a set of bylaws for the creation of a new league, the seven withdrew from the Southern Conference at the spring meeting on the morning of May 8, 1953. The bylaws were ratified on June 14, 1953, and the ACC was created, becoming the second conference formed by schools collectively withdrawing from the SoCon, after the Southeastern Conference. On December 4, 1953, officials convened in Greensboro, North Carolina, and admitted Virginia, a SoCon charter member that had been independent since 1937, into the conference.
In 1960, the ACC implemented a minimum SAT score for incoming student-athletes of 750, the first conference to do so. This minimum was raised to 800 in 1964, but was ultimately struck down by a federal court in 1972.
In 1971, South Carolina left the ACC to become an independent. The ACC operated with seven members until the addition of Georgia Tech from the Metro Conference on April 3, 1978. The total number of member schools reached nine with the addition of Florida State, also formerly from the Metro Conference, on July 1, 1991. The additions of those schools marked the first expansions of the conference footprint since 1953, though both schools were still located with the rest of the ACC schools in the South Atlantic States.
The ACC added three members from the Big East Conference during the 2005 conference realignment: Miami and Virginia Tech joined on July 1, 2004, and Boston College joined on July 1, 2005, as the league's twelfth member and the first from the Northeast. The expansion was controversial, as Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia (and, initially, Virginia Tech) filed lawsuits against the ACC, Miami, and Boston College for conspiring to weaken the Big East Conference.
The ACC Hall of Champions opened on March 2, 2011, next to the Greensboro Coliseum arena, making the ACC the second college sports conference to have a hall of fame after the Southern Conference (SoCon).
On September 17, 2011, Big East Conference members Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh both tendered formal written applications to the ACC to join its ranks. The two schools were accepted into the conference the following day, once again expanding the conference footprint like previous expansions. Because the Big East intended to hold Pitt and Syracuse to the 27-month notice period required by league bylaws, the most likely entry date into the ACC (barring negotiations) was July 1, 2014. However, on July 16, 2012, the Big East and Syracuse came to an agreement that allowed Syracuse to leave the Big East on July 1, 2013. Two days later, the Big East and Pittsburgh reached an identical agreement.
On September 12, 2012, Notre Dame agreed to join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey as the conference's first member in the Midwestern United States. As part of the agreement, Notre Dame will play five football games each season against ACC teams beginning in 2014. On March 12, 2013, Notre Dame and the Big East announced they had reached a settlement allowing Notre Dame to join the ACC effective July 1, 2013.
On November 19, 2012, the University of Maryland's Board of Regents voted to withdraw from the ACC to join the Big Ten Conference effective in 2014. The following week, the Big East's University of Louisville accepted the ACC's invitation to become a full member, replacing Maryland effective July 1, 2014.
The ACC's presidents announced on April 22, 2013, that all 15 schools that would be members of the conference in 2014–15 had signed a grant of media rights (GOR), effective immediately and running through the 2026–27 school year, coinciding with the duration of the conference's then-current TV deal with ESPN. This move essentially prevents the ACC from being a target for other conferences seeking to expand—under the grant, if a school leaves the conference during the contract period, all revenue derived from that school's media rights for home games would belong to the ACC and not the school. The move also left the SEC as the only one of the so-called "Power Five" FBS conferences without a GOR. In July 2016, the GOR was extended through the 2035–36 school year, coinciding with the signing of a new 20-year deal with ESPN that will transform the current ad hoc ACC Network into a full-fledged network. The new network will launch as a digital service in the 2016–17 school year and as a linear network no later than August 2019.
The ACC has fifteen members. For two of the 25 ACC-administered sports, baseball and football, schools are assigned to one of two seven-team divisions named the Atlantic Division and the Coastal Division. One member, Notre Dame, plays baseball in the Atlantic Division but does not compete in ACC football, instead competing as a football independent while playing a rotating selection of five ACC football teams per season. Syracuse does not field a varsity baseball team, but competes in the Atlantic Division for football.
On July 1, 2014, Maryland departed for the Big Ten Conference as Louisville joined from the American Athletic Conference (formerly, the Big East Conference). In 1971, South Carolina left the ACC to become independent, later joining the Metro Conference in 1983 and moving to its current home, the Southeastern Conference, in 1991.
Full members Non-football members
NCAA team championships
The Virginia Cavaliers lead the ACC in NCAA men's titles with 17, while the North Carolina Tar Heels lead in women's titles with 29, and in overall NCAA titles with 40. Excluded from this list are all national championships earned outside the scope of NCAA competition, including Division I FBS football titles, women's AIAW championships, equestrian titles, and retroactive Helms Athletic Foundation titles.
Capital One Cup standings
The Capital One Cup is an award given annually to the best men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the United States. Points are earned throughout the year based on final standings of NCAA Championships and final coaches' poll rankings. Virginia (2015) and Notre Dame (2014) have finished first in the Cup once apiece for men's sports, and North Carolina (2013) has once finished first on the women's side.
The Atlantic Coast Conference sponsors championship competition in thirteen men's and fourteen women's NCAA-sanctioned sports. The most recently added sport was fencing, added for the 2014–15 school year after having been absent from the conference since 1980; Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, and Notre Dame participate in that sport.
Women's sponsored sports by school
Member-by-member sponsorship of the 14 women's ACC sports for the 2016–17 academic year.
Women's sports that are not sponsored by the ACC but are fielded as a varsity sport at ACC schools:
+ Coed rifle team
Men's sponsored sports by school
Member-by-member sponsorship of the 13 men's ACC sports for the 2016–17 academic year.
* Notre Dame sponsors football as an independent. Although Notre Dame has a commitment to play five games per year against ACC football teams, it does not participate in the ACC football standings and thus is not eligible for the ACC football championship. Notre Dame does, however, have access to the ACC's bowl lineup aside from the Orange Bowl, to which it has its own arrangement for access.
^ Miami participates in diving only. For the purposes of this chart, Miami men's diving is counted as sponsoring half of the sport of men's swimming & diving.
Men's sports that are not sponsored by the ACC but are fielded as a varsity sport at ACC schools:
+ Coed rifle team
Champions for current academic year
Once the first championship events for 2016–17 are held, champions from the previous academic year will be indicated in italics.
The ACC has won the College World Series twice: by the Virginia Cavaliers in 2015 and by Wake Forest in 1955. However, conference schools have won six times, including four titles by Miami before joining the ACC. Member schools have appeared in the College World Series a combined total of 88 times. In 2013, the ACC was ranked as the top baseball conference by Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and has consistently ranked among the top three conference by that measure over the past five years. In 2013, eight ACC teams, plus future ACC member Louisville, were selected to play in the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, with North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Louisville advancing to the College World Series.
ACC Baseball is divided into two divisions, the Atlantic Division and the Coastal Division, that parallel the divisions of ACC football except for the fact that Syracuse is the only ACC school that does not field a baseball team and Notre Dame is assigned to the Atlantic Division. Louisville replaced Maryland in the Atlantic Division beginning with the 2015 season.
^ Syracuse does not currently field a baseball team but has one appearance in the NCAA baseball tournament prior to joining the conference.
† The count of College World Series appearances includes those made by the school prior to joining the ACC:
Historically, the ACC has been considered one of the most successful conferences in men's basketball. The early roots of ACC basketball began primarily thanks to two men: Everett Case and Frank McGuire.
Case had been a successful high school coach in Indiana who accepted the head coaching job at North Carolina State at a time that the school's athletic department had decided to focus on competing in football on a level with Duke, then a national power in college football. Case's North Carolina State teams dominated the early years of the ACC with a modern, fast-paced style of play. He became the fastest college basketball coach to reach many "games won" milestones.
Case eventually became known as The Father of ACC Basketball. Despite his success on the court, he may have been even a better promoter off-the-court. Case realized the need to sell his program and university. State had originally started construction on Reynolds Coliseum in 1941, but stopped construction during the war. It was originally slated to seat 10,000 people, but Case persuaded school officials to expand the arena to 12,400 people. It opened as the new home court for his team in 1949; at the time, it was the largest on-campus arena in the South. As such, it was used as the host site for many Southern Conference Tournaments, ACC Tournaments, and the Dixie Classic, an annual event involving the four ACC teams from North Carolina as well as four other prominent programs from across the nation. The Dixie Classic brought in large revenues for all schools involved and soon became one of the premier sporting events in the South.
Partly to counter Case's personality, as well as the dominant success of his program, North Carolina convinced St. John's head coach Frank McGuire to come to Chapel Hill in 1952. McGuire knew that largely due to Case's influence, basketball was now the major high school athletic event of the region, unlike football in the South. He not only tapped the growing market of high school talent in North Carolina, but also brought several recruits from his home territory in New York City as well. Case and McGuire literally invented a rivalry. Both men realized the benefits created through a rivalry between them. It brought more national attention to both of their programs and increased fan support on both sides. For this reason, they often exchanged verbal jabs at each other in public, while maintaining a secret working relationship in private.
After State was slapped with crippling NCAA sanctions before the 1956–57 season, McGuire's North Carolina team stepped into the breach and delivered the ACC its first national championship. During the Tar Heels' championship run, Greensboro entrepreneur Castleman D. Chesley noticed the popularity that it generated. He hastily cobbled together a five-station television network to broadcast the Final Four. That network began broadcasting regular season ACC games the following season—the ancestor of today's television package from Raycom Sports. From that point on, ACC basketball gained large popularity.
The ACC has been the home of many prominent basketball coaches besides Case and McGuire, including Terry Holland and Tony Bennett of Virginia; Vic Bubas and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke; Press Maravich, Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano of North Carolina State; Dean Smith and Roy Williams of North Carolina; Bones McKinney of Wake Forest; Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams of Maryland; Bobby Cremins of Georgia Tech; Jim Boeheim of Syracuse; and Rick Pitino of Louisville.
Historically, the ACC has been dominated by the four teams from Tobacco Road in North Carolina—North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Between them, they have won 50 tournament titles. They have also won or shared 59 regular season titles, including all but four since 1981. However, the past several years have seen the rise of the Tony Bennett-led Virginia Cavaliers, who became the first ACC team besides Duke or North Carolina to solely win back to back regular season titles since 1974, winning the regular season titles in 2014 and 2015, along with winning the ACC Tournament Championship in 2014. Tony Bennett also became the first ACC men's basketball coach to win 16 or more conference games in back-to-back seasons in the history of ACC men's basketball.
Tournament as championship
Possibly Case's most lasting contribution is the ACC Tournament, which was first played in 1954 and decides the winner of the ACC title. The ACC is unique in that it is the only Division I college basketball conference that does not officially recognize a regular season champion. This started when only one school per conference made the NCAA tournament. The ACC representative was determined by conference tournament rather than the regular season result. Therefore, the league eliminated the regular season title in 1961, choosing to recognize only the winner of the ACC tournament as conference champion. Fans and media do claim a regular-season title for the team that finishes first, and the NCAA recognizes a regular-season title winner in order to maintain its system of choosing NIT and NCAA tournament berths based on regular season placement. For the ACC, the unofficial crowning of a regular season champion is insignificant as a 1975 NCAA rule change allowed more than one team per conference to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. As a result, the team finishing atop the ACC regular-season standings has invariably been invited to the NCAA Tournament even if it did not win the ACC Tournament. Even so, any claim to a regular season "title" remains unofficial and carries no reward other than top seed in the ACC tournament.
For 53 years, the ACC employed a double round-robin schedule in the regular season, in which each team played the others twice a season. With the expansion to 12 teams by the 2005–2006 season, the ACC schedule could no longer accommodate this format. In the new scheduling format that was agreed to, each team was assigned two permanent partners and nine rotating partners over a three-year period. Teams played their permanent partners in a home-and-away series each year. The rotating partners were split into three groups: three teams played in a home-and-away series, three teams played at home, and three teams played on the road. The rotating partner groups were rotated so that a team would play each permanent partner six times, and each rotating partner four times, over a three-year period.
Since 1999, the ACC in cooperation with the Big Ten Conference has held the ACC–Big Ten Challenge each season, which is a series of regular-season games pitting ACC and Big Ten teams against each other. Each team typically plays one Challenge game each season, except for a few teams from the larger conference that are left out due to unequal conference sizes. The first ACC–Big Ten Women's Challenge was played in 2007, and has the same format as the men's Challenge.
For the 2012–13 season, the 12-team in-conference schedule expanded to 18. Originally for the 2013–14 season, the expanded 14-team, 18-game schedule was to consist of a home and away game with a "primary partner" while the remaining conference opponents would have rotated in groups of three: one year both home and away, one year at home only, and one year away only. However, when Notre Dame was also added for the 2013-14 season, the now 15-team, 18-game schedule was modified so each school played two "Partners" home and away annually, two home and away, five home, and the other five away. In 2013-14, after 1 year at 18 games, women's basketball went back to a 16-game schedule where each team only plays 2 teams twice, rotating opponents each year over seven years and has no permanent partners.
The table below lists each school's permanent men's basketball only scheduling partners after expansion in 2013 and the replacement of Maryland by Louisville in 2014.
National championships and Final Fours
Over the course of its existence, ACC schools have captured 13 NCAA men's basketball championships while members of the conference. Duke has won five, North Carolina has won five, NC State has won two, and Maryland has won one. Four more national titles were won by current ACC members while in other conferences—three by 2014 arrival Louisville and one by 2013 arrival Syracuse. Seven of the 12 pre-2013 members have advanced to the Final Four at least once while members of the ACC. Another pre-2013 member, Florida State, made the Final Four once before joining the ACC. All three schools that entered the ACC in 2013, as well as Louisville, advanced to the Final Four at least once before joining the conference. In addition North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pitt, and Syracuse were awarded Helms Athletic Foundation national championships for seasons predating the beginning of the NCAA basketball championship in 1939.
In women's basketball, ACC members have won two national championships while in the conference, North Carolina in 1994 and Maryland in 2006. Notre Dame, which joined in 2013, won the national title in 2001. In 2006, Duke, Maryland, and North Carolina all advanced to the Final Four, the first time a conference placed three teams in the women's Final Four. Both finalists were from the ACC, with Maryland defeating Duke for the title.
Italics denotes honors earned before the school joined the ACC. Women's national championship tournaments prior to 1982 were run by the AIAW.
The ACC has won 18 of the 34 NCAA Championships in field hockey. Maryland won 8 as a member of the ACC.
The ACC is considered to be one of the Power Five conferences, all of which receive automatic placement of their football champions into one of the six major bowl games. Seven of its members claim football national championships in their history, with two having won the now-defunct Bowl Championship Series (BCS) during its existence between 1998 and 2014 and one having won under the current College Football Playoff (CFP) system. Five of its members are among the top 25 of college football's all-time winningest programs.
In 2005, the ACC began divisional play in football. Division leaders compete in a playoff game to determine the ACC championship. The inaugural Championship Game was played on December 3, 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida, at the venue then known as Alltel Stadium, in which Florida State defeated Virginia Tech to capture its 12th championship since it joined the league in 1992. Notre Dame began playing several ACC teams each year in 2014, but is not considered a football member and is not eligible to play in the ACC Championship Game.
The ACC was the only NCAA Division I conference whose divisions were not divided geographically (North/South, East/West) until the Big Ten announced its division names as "Leaders" and "Legends" after the 2010 regular season. The Big Ten changed to geographic divisions ("East" and "West") when Maryland and Rutgers joined that conference in 2014, and the Mountain West Conference, which split into football divisions in 2013, uses "Mountain" and "West" for its division names, with all of the Mountain Division teams in the Mountain Time Zone and all of the West Division teams except football-only member Hawaii in the Pacific Time Zone, which means that the ACC is once again the only Division I conference with non-geographic divisions.
The previous division structure led to each team playing the following games:
On February 3, 2012, the ACC announced a new regular-season scheduling format which added Syracuse to the Atlantic Division and Pittsburgh to the Coastal Division. These new teams were paired as cross-divisional rivals. This change took effect when Pitt and Syracuse joined the conference in July 2013. On October 3, 2012, it was announced that the extra in-division game would result in one fewer cross-division game.
The current division structure leads to each team playing the following games:
Starting with the 2017 season, ACC members will be required to play at least one non-conference game each season against a team in the "Power 5" conferences. Games against Notre Dame also meet the requirement. In January 2015, the conference announced that games against another FBS independent, BYU, would also count toward the requirement. ACC teams can also meet the requirement by scheduling one another in non-conference games; the first example of this was also announced in January 2015, when North Carolina and Wake Forest announced that they would play a home-and-home non-conference series in 2019 and 2021.
In the table below, each column represents one division. Each team's designated permanent rival is listed in the same row in the opposing column. Alignments reflect those in place since Louisville joined the ACC in 2014.
Within the College Football Playoff, the Orange Bowl serves as the home of the ACC champion against Notre Dame or another team from the SEC or Big Ten. If the conference's champion is selected for the CFP, another ACC team will be chosen in their place.
The other bowls pick ACC teams in the order set by agreements between the conference and the bowls.
Beginning in 2014, Notre Dame is eligible for selection as the ACC's representative to any of its contracted bowl games. The ACC's bowl selection will no longer be bound by the rigidity of a "one-win rule" but will have a general list of criteria to emphasize regionality and quality matchups on the field. A one-win rule does apply to Notre Dame's participation in the ACC Bowl structure. Notre Dame is now eligible for ACC Bowl selection beginning with the Citrus Bowl and continuing through the league's bowl selections. However, Notre Dame must be within one win of the ACC available team which has the best overall record, in order to be chosen. In other words, if an ACC team was 9-3, a 7-5 Notre Dame team could not be chosen in its place. Notre Dame would have to be 8-4 to be chosen over a 9-3 league team.
* If the ACC Champion is not in one of the semifinal games it will appear in the Orange Bowl, or, if the Orange Bowl is a semifinal or national championship site, one of the Playoff "host" bowls, either the Fiesta, Cotton or Chick-fil-A Peach. There is no limit on how many teams the College Football Playoff may choose from a particular conference.
** Only if the ACC opponent in the Orange Bowl, in a non-semifinal year is a team from the Big Ten, a maximum of three times in six years.
*** After the 2014 and 2016 seasons; all others as conditional selection if not filled by C-USA or The American.
**** Conditional all years if not filled by SEC or The American.
Although the NCAA does not determine an official national champion for Division I FBS football, several ACC members claim national championships awarded by various "major selectors" of national championships as recognized in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records. Since 1936 and 1950 respectively, these include what are now the most pervasive and influential selectors, the Associated Press poll and Coaches Poll. In addition, from 1998 to 2013 the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) used a mathematical formula to match the top two teams at the end of the season. The winner of the BCS was contractually awarded the Coaches' Poll national championship and its AFCA National Championship Trophy as well as the MacArthur Trophy from the National Football Foundation. Maryland won one championship as a member of the ACC in 1953.
Of the current ACC members, 12 sponsor men's golf and 10 sponsor women's golf. Four team national championships in men's golf and six national titles in women's golf have been won by ACC members while in the conference, led by the Duke women's team that has won six national titles since 1999. In addition, two more team national titles, one in men's golf and one in women's golf, have been won by current ACC members before they joined the conference.
Since 1971, when the first men's national champion was determined by the NCAA, the ACC has won 13 NCAA championships, more than any other conference in college lacrosse. Virginia has won seven total national championships, North Carolina has won five, and Duke has won three. Former ACC member Maryland won two national championships as an ACC member. In addition, prior to the establishment of the NCAA tournament, Maryland had won nine national championships while Virginia won two. Syracuse, which joined the ACC in 2013, won ten NCAA-sponsored national championships, the most ever by any Division I lacrosse program, before joining the conference. Since 1987, the only year in which the national championship game did not feature a current ACC member was 2015.
Women's lacrosse has only awarded a national championship since 1982, and the ACC has won more titles than any other conference. In all, the ACC has won 14 women's national championships: Maryland has won eleven as an ACC member, Virginia has won three and North Carolina has won two.
Italics denotes championships before it was part of the ACC.
* Syracuse vacated its 1990 championship due to NCAA violations.
In men's soccer, Virginia has won 7 NCAA titles, and more since 1990 than any other university in the country. The ACC overall has won 16 national championships, including 16 of the 31 seasons between 1984 and 2014. Seven by Virginia and the remaining nine by Maryland (3 times), Clemson (twice), North Carolina (twice), Duke, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame.
In women's soccer, North Carolina has won 21 of the 28 NCAA titles since the NCAA crowned its first champion, as well as the only Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) soccer championship in 1981. The Tar Heels have also won 18 of the 22 ACC tournaments. They lost in the final to North Carolina State in 1988 and Virginia in 2004, both times by penalty kicks. The 2010 tournament was the first in which they failed to make the championship game, falling to eventual champion Wake Forest in the semi-finals. The 2012 ACC tournament saw North Carolina's first quarterfinal loss, to the eventual champion Virginia; however, the Tar Heels went on to win the national title that season. In 2014, Florida State became the first school other than North Carolina to win the national championship as an ACC member. Notre Dame won three NCAA titles before it joined the ACC in 2013.
Among the major NCAA athletic conferences that sponsor NCAA Division I FBS football, including the current "Power Five conferences", the ACC has been regarded as having the highest academically ranked collection of members based on U.S. News & World Report and by the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate.
The members of the ACC also participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Consortium (ACCAC), a consortium that provides a vehicle for inter-institutional academic and administrative collaboration between member universities. Growing out of a conference-wide doctoral student-exchange program that was established in 1999, the ACCAC has expanded its scope into other domestic and international collaborations.
The stated mission of the ACCAC is to "leverage the athletic associations and identities among the 15 ACC universities in order to enrich the educational missions of member universities." To that end, the collaborative helps organize various academic initiatives, including fellowship and scholarship programs, global research initiatives, leadership conferences, and extensive study abroad programs. Funding for its operations, 90% of which is spent on direct student support, is derived from a portion of the income generated by the ACC Football Championship Game and by supplemental allocations by individual universities and various grants.
Major academic programs of the ACCAC include:
The ACCAC also supports periodic meetings among faculty, administration, and staff who pursue similar interests and responsibilities at the member universities either by face-to-face conferences, video conferences, or telephone conferences. ACCAC affinity groups include those for International Affairs Officers, Study Abroad Directors, Teaching-Learning Center Directors, Chief Information Officers, Chief Procurement Officers, Undergraduate Research Conference Coordinators, Student Affairs Vice Presidents, Student Leadership Conference Coordinators, and Faculty Athletic Representatives To the ACC.