With the entire sports world working its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberty is no different. While the Flames are currently moving forward with intentions of playing a full 2020 football season as scheduled, athletic director Ian McCaw and his staff have been working on contingency plans as well.
“Our plan and belief right now is that we’re going to play a full regular season, on schedule, beginning September 5th in Blacksburg and then for our home opener September 12th against North Carolina A&T, that’s how we’re proceeding right now,” McCaw told the Voice of the Flames Alan York. “Obviously, in light of the circumstances, we have created some contingency plans.”
Those contingency plans are primarily centered around Liberty’s fellow Independents. If the 2020 season is shortened from a full 12 game season, many conferences have discussed playing conference games only in an 8 or 9 game season. This would leave Liberty in a bit of a pickle not being a member of a conference in football.
“Obviously, as an FBS Independent, we don’t have a true conference, we have a quasi-conference and that’s our fellow Independents,” said McCaw. “We’ve actually been in touch with Notre Dame, BYU, Army, New Mexico State, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We’ve been in contact with all of those schools, putting together backup plans in the event that things don’t go off with a full regular season. We will be prepared to make adjustments if and when that happens.”
Liberty is currently scheduled to play fellow Independents UMass and UConn in 2020. The Flames have also played Army, New Mexico State, and BYU since moving to the FBS in 2018, with additional games scheduled against those teams in the coming years.
But not Notre Dame.
Ever since its founding in 1971 by the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., Liberty has always looked to Notre Dame as the standard for the Flames’ football program. A big part of Falwell’s vision for Liberty University and its Athletic Program was getting Notre Dame on the schedule. Maybe a global pandemic will lead to the Flames and Fighting Irish meeting on the gridiron.