Another edition of the ASOR Mailbag! Thank you for submitting your questions and continue to send them in and we will be happy to answer them in our next feature. You can send them to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or as a comment on the site. We had a ton of great questions this week, so let’s get right to it.
Between now and 2026, Liberty has about 4 games each year that they have to drop to be CUSA ready. How long do you expect this process to take of dropping games? Will it be 2025 and we are still dropping games for 2026? Makes it hard for recruits to measure future schedules.
— TurtlePower98 (@sstaedtler98) May 18, 2022
The main focus for now is the 2023 and 2024 schedules. Once those are finalized, the focus will shift to future seasons. What will likely happen, is some of the 2025 and on schedules will take care of themselves a good amount with the adjustment of the ’23 and ’24 slates. Look no further than the cancellation of the Miami Ohio and Virginia series, which took two games off the 2023 schedule but also took future games off the 2025, 2027, 2029, and 2030 seasons. By the time we get the full and complete 2023 schedule, we will know a lot about the 2024 and 2025 schedules with maybe another game or two still looming.
As far as the recruits being able to measure future schedules, I disagree with your premise. With being in Conference USA, Liberty has eight games set on their future schedules, and Ian McCaw and Hugh Freeze have already laid out what their schedule model will be. So, recruits already know what these schedules will look like.
It’s been covered multiple times but adding to CUSA would be huge for scheduling. A conf of 12 (2 Divisions of 6) yields:
5 divisional games
2 opposite Division games(rotating) = 7
This = 5 open dates & If the right teams are added a big reduction in travel
Any traction on this?
— Eric Taylor (@JET70X7) May 20, 2022
Things change so quickly in realignment. Shortly after Liberty formally accepted an invitation to Conference USA, the rumblings we heard were that the conference was happy with their current setup of 9 football playing members. That certainly could change, but we haven’t heard anything stating such. Also, with the NCAA’s recent ruling this week that each FBS conference can determine which two teams can compete in a conference championship game without the need for divisions, there is really no need to add teams unless obvious additions come along. Right now, the only schools that have been rumored to be getting looks from CUSA would be additional FCS call ups. There’s really no need for the conference to go that route right now.
Which true freshman football player will likely have the biggest immediate impact
— Trev_spi (@SpiTrev) May 18, 2022
Great question. Also, insert shameless plug for the upcoming 2022 ASOR Liberty Football Magazine Preview. We have been working on this for a couple months now and it is nearing the final stages and should be ready for pre-sale soon. In the magazine, we give our list of five freshmen most likely to make an immediate impact with the Flames. To answer your question, here are two that made that list in the magazine – Jayden Sweeney and Dexter Ricks, Jr. Sweeney is a safety that could find some playing time in the defensive backfield or on special teams. Ricks, a corner, was fighting for a spot in the rotation during the spring and he could factor into the mix there this fall.
With more P5 schools offering financial benefits to athletes for academic progress, is this something Liberty is looking to start incorporating? It would be a huge recruiting advantage for us at the G5 level and encourage student-athletes to do well in the classroom.
— Frontierman (@Frontierman22) May 19, 2022
This is something Coach Freeze has hinted at in previous media sessions, and Liberty does plan on providing Austin money for qualified student-athletes. The current maximum amount allowed under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alston v. NCAA is up to $5,980 of additional financial assistance per year. Add that to cost of attendance and NIL deals, and student-athletes have plenty of opportunities to maximize their earning potential at Liberty. Ever since cost of attendance became legal, Liberty has been at the top of its peers in providing these opportunities for their student-athletes. That shouldn’t change moving forward.
Is Flames Central nothing more than an infomercial on @masnsports ? There are no sponsors willing to advertise.
— r.j.d (@jeffdNVA) May 19, 2022
To be honest, I have never watched Flames Central on MASN or any other cable or network channel it comes on. So, I can’t speak directly to what you are referencing about not having any sponsors willing to advertise. I do think it’s pretty safe to say that Liberty views Flames Central as an investment rather than a money maker, though, obviously, closing the gap between that department’s expenses and income generated would certainly make business sense.
— Mike Hagen 🔥 (@MikeTHagen) May 18, 2022
Thank you for the reminder, Mike! Be sure to buy your men’s basketball season tickets!
What is the average income for FB players from NIL? https://t.co/IqKEiy6Ehs
— wgribbin (@wgribbin1) May 18, 2022
This is a great question. All the big, six and seven figure deals get all the media attention, but those are the outliers. It depends on where you look to get your information, but a few studies I have seen put the average NIL deal at a few different spots. These numbers are not just for football players, but all student-athletes. One studied had the average NIL deal valued at $471. A few months ago, Kansas’ Athletic Director said their average NIL deal was $2,728 but that number was heavily skewed by some five figure men’s basketball deals. Another study put the average NIL deal for all Division I student-athletes at $391. I found another study that had the average NIL transaction at $1,335 but the median transaction was $63. We have asked Liberty Athletics and had discussion with them on this point recently, and, though not an exact study, we were told the average NIL deal for all Liberty student-athletes was probably around $100 for all the deals that they have seen through the first nearly one year of NIL being legal.