The Liberty Flames are moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and will play as an Independent, the school officially announced on Thursday.
Liberty will begin the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the FBS starting with the 2017-18 academic year. The Flames will play as an FBS Independent in 2018 and will be bowl-eligible starting with the 2019 season.
“This is a very exciting day for Liberty Athletics and our football program,” said Ian McCaw, Liberty University Director of Athletics. “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, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, has been fielding a football team since 1973. They moved to Division I in 1989 and joined the Big South Conference in 2002.
The Flames won the Big South Conference Championship in 2007 and 2008 and were co-champions in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
As an FBS transitional team, Liberty will be required to play three FBS home games in 2018 and five FBS home games from 2019 onward.
The Liberty Flames play on campus at Williams Stadium. The venue, opened in 1989 and renovated in 2010, currently has a capacity of 19,200.
Liberty opens their 2017 football season at Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 2. The Flames also have future games scheduled at Wake Forest (2018) and Virginia Tech (2020).