Liberty to pay ODU “sizable guarantee”
Senior Associate AD Mickey Guridy said the first call he made after the Flames announced they were making the move to FBS was to Old Dominion. Liberty and the Monarchs will meet in Williams Stadium in Lynchburg on September 1, 2018 as Liberty University ushers in its move to the FBS era.
“We are fortunate that they needed a road game,” Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw said on Monday. “We’re tying to have one prominent home game each year and certainly they qualify for 2018 to be that prominent game. To be able to get them to be our first FBS home game in 2018 was really a coup.”
The Monarchs won 10 games in 2016 and won the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. “I couldn’t think of a better opponent to launch us into 2018,” McCaw stated. Of course, the Flames had to pay for that game. According to a copy of the contract, Liberty will pay Old Dominion $1.32 million dollars for the single game which is not part of an extended series.
McCaw said scheduling that game opened the door to a total of 8 games scheduled over a number of years, 4 home games and 4 away games, including the 3 game Virginia series.
2019 schedule close to being finalized
During Saturday’s release of the 2018 schedule and numerous future games, Liberty unveiled 7 games for the 2019 season. The Flames will play a home and home with New Mexico State, while also hosting Buffalo and New Mexico, and travelling to BYU, Rutgers, and Virginia.
“We’re pretty close to (finalizing) 2019,” McCaw said. “We’re waiting on a contract and a couple of date changes. So, that could be done within the next couple of weeks. It may take until the summer, but certainly by the middle of the summer we should have 2019 firmed up.”
Of the 2019 schedule, McCaw says he expects there to be 6 home and 6 road games with most likely 2 FCS games and probably 2 or 3 Power 5 games. “It will look similar, in terms of make-up, to 2018, and that’s what we’re going to try to end up with most years. You’ll see us playing 2 Power 5 games, at most 3, and the majority being Group of 5.
Liberty is required to have a minimum of 5 FBS home games per season, but teams are able to count one FCS game towards that requirement provided the FCS team offers 90% of the maximum number of scholarships allowed at the FCS level.
In season home and home with New Mexico State not likely to continue past 2019
Independents New Mexico State and Liberty will play each other 4 times over the 2018 and 2019 season, as each team will play an in-season home and home series each year.
“It came about because we had a really tight timeframe to put the schedule together and a scarcity of opponents,” McCaw said. “They needed games and we needed games. I threw the idea out there. It’s challenging to get those October and November dates as an Independent. So, it just worked out well for them, worked out well for us. It works in the National Football League and college basketball, so we thought we would give that a try.”
McCaw says he doesn’t envision this agreement would continue past 2019. “I think it was more out of necessity. I would like to, ideally, be scheduling games 6-8 years in advance. When you’re scheduling them 18 months in advance, it certainly causes a lot of sleepless nights and staring at the ceiling at 2 o’clock in the morning trying to figure out how you’re going to get the schedule done. So, this was a way to really allow us to close out the ’18 schedule and put us in good shape for ’19 as well.”
Other scheduling notes
- McCaw says now that 2018 and 2019 are pretty much complete, it will allow his staff the ability to be more strategic moving forward for 2020, 2021, and 2022. “We can be a little more strategic in terms of the teams we would like to play. We want to play Independents, we want to play regional rivals, we want to have a prominent home game once a year.”
- The single game announced with Troy on October 13, 2018 is part of a home-and-home series between the two teams. “We don’t have the specific date nailed down which is why the 2nd part of that wasn’t announced,” McCaw said.
Stadium expansion update
As we all know, the visitor locker rooms behind one endzone at Williams Stadium was torn down in advance of the 2017 Commencement. The plans for the replacement locker room are still being developed and it’s likely that it will not be ready for the start of the 2017 season.
When asked if there would be any seating on top of where the new locker rooms will be built, McCaw simply stated that was “undetermined right now.” The same was the case when asked about any additional stadium expansion in the coming months. “Nothing formal, just discussions right now, as we transition to FBS, what Williams Stadium will be. Obviously, we want to have great amenities, create a tremendous gameday experience. It’s just different as you move to the FBS level, but all that is being discussed right now.”