Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for our mailbag. If you have a question that isn’t addressed here, feel free to hit us up on social media or by email, and we will happy to respond. If we get enough, we may even do another mailbag. We are entering the summer doldrums where not much newsworthy typically happens. Although, I think this summer will have much more going on than typical. I mean, just look back at everything that transpired during the month of May. Anyways, on to your questions.
@ASeaofRed Any idea about future status in Big South for everything outside of football?
— Daniel Sloan (@DrsloanSloan) May 30, 2017
@ASeaofRed Is it Liberty’s goal to eventually join a FBS conference?
— Matthew Zwirb (@ZwirbMatthew) May 30, 2017
Everyone’s favorite question right now, and for good reason. The Big South has been having various meetings most of this week. Liberty’s affiliation with the conference in all-sports outside of football was certainly a topic for discussion. The question becomes, was a final decision made? If so, when will there be an announcement made? It’s really anybody’s guess for those not privy to those meetings.
If the Big South elects to move on without Liberty, there’s a few options. The Atlantic Sun is certainly at the top of the list of most likely landing spots as they don’t offer football. Other options could include the Southern, CAA, or the Atlantic 10. It would be a hard sell though. What does Liberty bring to the table in non-football sports?
As for joining an FBS conference, it’s definitely something on the athletic department’s agenda. Although with as successful as the football schedule is going, it may not be at the top of the list. Of course, if all sports are suddenly looking for a home, it becomes priority #1. Would Liberty want to flirt with the Sun Belt again after being denied on multiple occasions? Conference USA would be an attractive landing spot. Perhaps they would be more willing to add an already established FBS team as opposed to an FCS move up.
is this a do or die year for Gill? Also, was going FBS now the right move when we haven’t dominated FCS?
— Tate myers (@CATUDEAC) May 31, 2017
Two very similar questions that I will attempt to answer at once. Gill already had pressure on him prior to the announced move to FBS. This move just ups the ante. Of course, none of us know what new Athletic Director Ian McCaw thinks of Gill.
2017 is pretty much a lost season. We’re playing an FCS schedule with more scholarships than FCS teams but nothing to play for. Certainly the program wants to win and continue the positive momentum. 2018 and 2019 will be interesting to watch. We have no idea how the team will fare going toe-to-toe with FBS programs every week, but I think 3-5 wins in 2018 is certainly attainable. I’m not sure putting bowl expectations on the program’s first season being bowl eligible is realistic for 2019.
As for the timing of the FBS move, it’s always been the school’s goal to compete at the FBS level. So, you make the jump whenever you can make the jump. Sure being “dominant” at the FCS level is always preferable, but it’s not a requirement. Success at the FCS level doesn’t always translate to the FBS. Similarly, lack of success at the FCS level doesn’t mean the program won’t be successful at the FBS level.
The Liberty Channel has just rolled out on the Roku. As you have mentioned, Liberty already has a great relationship with ESPN, and it’s one that will only grow. With the Flames facing FBS teams now, the demand for its production will only increase. Fellow FBS Indy BYU regularly has their content created by BYUtv showcased on ESPN.
I haven’t heard any talk of bowl tie-ins to this point. McCaw and his staff have been primarily focused on getting the schedule nailed down since the FBS move was announced in February. Regardless, there are so many bowls that if Liberty finishes 6-6 or better, they will find a bowl game to participate in.
Are there any changes to the stadium plans and what’s the timeline looking like?
— Michael Hancock (@MichaelVAGuard) May 31, 2017
Stadium expansion. I know there have been models/plans since like 2009. When will we see the full horseshoe completed? Away side upper deck?
— Flames Nation (@Flames___Nation) June 1, 2017
There will certainly be an expansion to Williams Stadium in the near future. When and what is what we don’t know. When we first asked McCaw about stadium expansion as part of our 3 part Q&A with him, he stated the earliest anything could happen would be after the conclusion of the 2017 season. He also stated that he’s an advocate for having a scarcity of tickets and creating more premium areas. The visitor’s locker room behind one end zone is already gone and McCaw says that the new locker room won’t be ready by the start of the 2017 season. Hopefully the athletic department will release the expansion plans once they are finalized.