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ACC adopts 72-player limit for conference games

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) ó The Atlantic Coast Conference has voted to cap football travel squads for league games, a cost-cutting measure that should save schools thousands each year.

ACC athletic directors passed the proposal Wednesday at the conference’s annual spring meetings. It goes into effect this fall.

Conference schools already were limited to 72 players for the ACC championship football game. Other BCS conferences with title games have a 72-player limit.

ACC associate commissioner for football Michael Kelly said the roster cap did not apply to non-conference away games. For example, when Florida State plays at Florida or Clemson plays at South Carolina, the roster size “is at the coach’s discretion,” he said.

The conference also awarded its baseball tournament to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for three years, beginning in 2011. Myrtle Beach beat out Jacksonville, Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, N.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C. The tournament will be played at BB&T Coastal Stadium, the Carolina League home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an Atlanta Braves farm team.

“We received very good bids, all very competitive and all very equal,” said Davis Whitfield, the ACC’s associate commissioner for championships. “In the end, it was a matter of splitting hairs over the sites. Myrtle Beach has some appeal because of where it was within our conference footprint.”

Whitfield said travel considerations were part of the decision.

“The economy came into the discussion,” he said.

Jacksonville hosted the tournament from 2006 to 2008. It will be played in Durham, N.C., this year and Greensboro in 2010. Attempts to play in Boston’s Fenway Park fell through.

A proposal to increase the number of conference basketball games from 16 to 18 didn’t pass Wednesday. The measure would have made scheduling easier and reduced the number of payout games for ACC schools. But Karl Hicks, the conference’s associate commissioner for men’s basketball, said coaches wanted to keep their options flexible for lining up strong intersectional games.

“The basketball coaches were unanimous in wanting to continue to be able to schedule intersectional games,” Hicks said. “If they went to more conference games, it might dampen that and it might impact the number of teams we get to the (NCAA) tournament, given that we have the highest RPI rating in the country. If you look at the standings, at teams from 10th to 12th, and teams from fourth to six, the difference is a shot in a game or two. We didn’t see the benefit of going to 18 games.”

The league also gave commissioner John Swofford authority to push for an early signing day for football. Coaches hope Swofford can get a December signing date passed at the Conference Commissioners Association meeting next month in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Football is currently the only NCAA sport without an early signing day.

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