Liberty announced today that the NCAA has approved its request to enter the FBS reclassification process, the Flames will compete as an FBS independent during the 2018 season and will be bowl eligible starting with the 2019 season.
Liberty will be a full pledged FBS member beginning in 2019, and will be required to play a minimum of 5 FBS home games per season at that time. The Flames will play 3 FBS home games in 2018. In 2017, Liberty will play as an FCS member, but will be ineligible for the FCS Playoffs. Liberty joins Notre Dame, BYU, Army, and UMass as FBS Independents.
President Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated that the school intends to keep all other sports in the Big South Conference for the foreseeable future, but due to conference by laws this is something that will require a waiver by the other Big South member schools.
“Today is truly historic for Liberty University. This university aspired to compete at the highest levels of NCAA competition and began working toward that dream and vision from the day of its founding in 1971. We are deeply grateful to NCAA leadership and staff for considering this request and for acknowledging Liberty’s readiness and the appropriateness of Liberty now moving to FBS football status as an independent. Congratulations to Athletics Director, Ian McCaw and Coach Turner Gill! We are grateful to have had the assistance of Dennis Coleman and his colleagues of Ropes & Gray to help navigate the NCAA process over the last year.”
Liberty University President
“This is a very exciting day for Liberty Athletics and our football program. We are grateful for President Falwell’s vision and leadership in spearheading Liberty’s move to FBS football. We look forward to continuing our upward trajectory of success and meeting the level of competition in FBS.”
Liberty University Director of Athletics
“This is truly a blessed day from Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for allowing the vision of our late founder Jerry Falwell, Sr., along with the hard work of President Jerry Falwell to come to fruition! It gives our university great national exposure to build Champions for Christ!”
Liberty University Head Football Coach
Statement from the Big South:
“The Big South Conference is aware of the NCAA’s approval in granting Liberty University a waiver to move its football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision as an independent. While logistics of such a move are still to be determined, Big South Football remains in great health with the addition of Campbell University in 2018 and the University of North Alabama in 2019. Big South Football has shown tremendous growth and success in its short history, and we look forward to even brighter days ahead.”