Jim Phillips. Courtesy of ACC.

At an annual affair where coaches and players usually attract most of the attention, the ACC Football Kickoff had a somewhat different spin this year in Charlotte, N.C..

It has not been uncommon in recent years for past commissioner John Swofford to address the media, and his successor, Jim Phillips, could have anticipated a rash of questions during his “commissioner’s forum.”

Among the changes that have taken place are a 3-5-5 football scheduling model that will have teams playing the same three teams every year and the other 10 teams twice during a four-year cycle, eliminating the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions.

Phillips’ forum came in the aftermath of reports that Southern Cal and UCLA would be joining the Big Ten and that the Southeastern  Conference had its eyes on ACC teams.

“All neighborhoods need to be healthy,” he said. “It’s not good for college athletics if we’re not. We understand where those two leagues are. No one is ignoring that. We’re all trying to find ways to close the gap. This is unique [with] what’s happened over the last 12 months”

Another issue dealt with Notre Dame, an ACC member in everything but football.

“I know what independence means to Notre Dame,” he said. “So, you respect it and I know that, if there comes a time that Notre Dame would consider moving to a conference and away from independence, I feel really good about being in the ACC.

“As I look at the next few years, I like where we’re going.”

He’s not wild about the NIL (name, image and likeness) that provides revenue to student athletes and, in some cases, considerable income.

“That has rocked our college athletic world,” Phillips said. “We all have kind of vowed to stay within certain boundaries as it relates to rules and regulations. This is done that doesn’t have any right now.”

POLLS — Virginia and Virginia Tech were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in media projections for the ACC’s Coastal Division. Miami is picked to win the Coastal Division and Clemson to win the Atlantic.

THE FUTURE — Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has said he is “100 percent supportive” of an expansion of the College Football Playoff.

“The Big Ten was born out of a desire to be bold,” he added.

CONTENTION — Liberty offensive lineman Brendan Schlittler is the only player from a state of Virginia football program who is listed among 289 candidates for the Outland Trophy, which goes to college football’s top offensive lineman.

TRANSFER  — Emma Wyatt, a freshman on UVa’s 2022 women’s NCAA championship team, has elected to transfer to the University of Florida in her home state.  She was a silver medalist at the 2020 Olympics in the 400 IM.

LOCAL ANGLE — Former Duke University golfer Brandon LaCroix shot a 9-under-par 61 on Sunday to break the course record at Hunting Hills in Roanoke.

CONNECTION — Sydney McLaughlin, world and Olympic record holder in the 400 meter hurdles, married former UVa wide receiver Andre Levrone in May.

PORTAL — Nick Parker, a left-handed pitcher on the Coastal Carolina team that faced Virginia in the 2022 NCAA Baseball Tournament, is transferring to UVa. Parker, from York, Pa., was 6-3 and had a 4.45 ERA last year for the Chanticleers, who were 39-20-1.

RECRUITING — Four-star point guard Trey Green from Branson, Mo., has indicated on Twitter that he has a basketball scholarship offer from UVa men’s coach Tony Bennett. Another prospect who indicates he has an offer from UVa is 6-5 guard Davin Cosby from Benedictine in Richmond. Virginia Tech took its first 2023 commitment from Brandon Rechsteiner out of Woodstock, Georgia.  His father is NWA professional wrestler Scott Steiner also known as Big Poppa Pump.

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...