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What is the ACC?

By Shannan Powell
Updated May 23, 2024
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The ACC, or Atlantic Coast Conference, is a college sports league that includes Division I schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). ACC teams are located up and down the East Coast of the United States and play against other teams within the conference, as well as Division I teams from other conferences. Of the twenty sports that are included in the conference, ACC teams are best known for their successes in college basketball and college football.

The ACC was founded in 1953 with seven original member colleges and universities. The founding teams were all originally members of the Southern Conference, but were unhappy with some of the regulations in place. At that Spring's Southern Conference meeting, the seven schools, which included Duke, Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest, put in their withdrawal notices and began the ACC.

Over the years, more schools joined the ACC. Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College joined the ranks of the respected schools participating in ACC collegiate sports. In 1971, South Carolina withdrew from the conference. These events resulted in the twelve team conference that is so popular in the NCAA today.

The ACC includes a variety of sports for both male and female collegiate athletes to compete in. In the Fall, football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, and volleyball are played within the conference. Winter sports include basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, and indoor track and field. In the Spring, athletes can compete in baseball, softball, track and field, golf, rowing, tennis, and lacrosse.

Many college athletes choose schools based on the professional players who call that particular school their Alma Mater. ACC teams have produced some of the top professional athletes the world has ever seen. Well-known players such as Michael Jordan, Lawrence Taylor, Tim Duncan, and many others completed their pre-professional career at an ACC university. Additionally, the ACC has sent many players to various Olympic and amateur level sporting events.

With a dozen top schools and a commitment to excellence in sports, the ACC is likely to remain a top conference in the NCAA for years to come. Fans watch their favorite teams, year after year, while high school students strive to make the grades and the scores for a chance to play where their favorite pro did. The long-standing tradition of Atlantic Coast Conference sports will carry on.

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