Update 5/18: Liberty formally accepted an invitation from the ASUN to become an all-sports member (ASUN doesn’t offer football, field hockey, or swimming & diving) Thursday afternoon. Bringing to the close about a year of flirtation between the two.
“We had discussions with them about a year ago and things didn’t materialize,” Liberty AD Ian McCaw said. “Then, they really restarted in April, and we received an invitation about 3 weeks ago, completed some due diligence, and President Falwell formally accepted this week and we signed the membership agreement (Wednesday).”
North Florida was a strong proponent in Liberty’s favor throughout the process and their Athletic Director Lee Moon was in attendance for Thursday’s press conference.
The ASUN also offers women’s golf and beach volleyball, sports that Liberty doesn’t currently have in its fold, but could easily add in the future to remain in compliance with Title IX as the football team increases its scholarships to accompany the FBS move.
“The drivers on this move are the academic prestige of the conference, the quality of the athletic programs, the markets, and, really, the recruiting footprint, both for students as well as student-athletes, all are really exciting for us.” McCaw continued, “that’s ultimately what carried the day.”
Update 5/17: We have confirmed that Liberty will be joining the ASUN. The school has scheduled a press conference for 2pm to make a “major announcement regarding its future.”
Liberty is expected to make a major conference affiliation announcement on Thursday, multiple sources have confirmed. This move could happen as soon as the 2018-19 school year. A press conference is expected to be scheduled for Thursday.
Sources indicate Liberty is poised to accept an invitation to the ASUN for all sports except football, but we are still working on confirming that information.
Since announcing its move of football to the FBS level as an Independent in February 2017, the Flames had faced the possibility of the Big South forcing its hand to move its other sports from the conference, but, in September, the Big South approved Liberty’s waiver to remain in the conference as an associate member.
The Flames would be the 9th member of the ASUN, joining fellow all-sports members Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, NJIT, North Alabama, North Florida, and Stetson. The ASUN doesn’t offer football, but an agreement with the Big South offers the opportunity for its member schools with football teams to compete in the Big South.
Liberty has been a member of the Big South since 1991, becoming a member shortly after joining the Division I ranks in 1989.