CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – In his first media appearance when the Atlantic Coast conference kicked off on Wednesday, newly appointed commissioner Jim Phillips said the conference would encourage, not mandate, COVID vaccinations -19 entering the 2021 football season.
Phillips, who replaced John Swofford as retired ACC commissioner in February, called the vaccinations “critical” for all athletes to avoid a positive test that would force them off the field, but has added that this will remain a personal choice or at the discretion of each. University.
“I think vaccines are essential (…) to eliminate the COVID-19 virus and its variants, but I also deeply respect that getting vaccinated is a personal choice,” he said.
He added that a decision has yet to be made whether the conference will postpone league games if teams are disrupted by new outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey said earlier this week that he had recommended not rescheduling league games if a team couldn’t play due to an outbreak.
Half of ACC football teams have met or exceeded the 85 percent vaccination threshold, according to Phillips. Seven schools already require students to be vaccinated to be on campus, including Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Notre Dame. The Irish remain in the ACC with the exception of football and hockey.
Phillips spent an hour addressing immediate league concerns, including the need for a national standard for name, image and likelihood policies.
Phillips said a national standard for NIL would avoid a “major disruption” and limit the recruiting benefits from one conference to another. He also said it was time to take a serious look at the governance structure of the NCAA as a whole.
“Now is a good time to have a full holistic review of the NCAA, the leadership, the structure, what we want to do to move forward,” said Phillips.