Liberty University has begun the process of moving up to FBS from FCS, the school announced on Thursday. They will do so without having a conference offer to accept them.
The largest, non-profit Christian university in America has played football since 1973 and moved up from NAIA to Division II to Division I-AA up until 2016. They currently compete out of the Big South Conference out of Virginia at the FCS level and have won at least a share of seven conference titles since 2007.
The Flames are expected to begin the two-year transition this fall and be classified as an FBS Independent in 2018 with the hopes of joining a conference the following year. A perfect fit for the program would seem to be the Sun Belt, who will lose Idaho University after the 2017 season with the program choosing to go back to the FCS level.
Liberty will also not be bowl eligible until 2019. The athletic department is under new management after they decided to hire former Baylor AD Ian McCaw to the same position. McCaw resigned from his position at Baylor last May after he was sanctioned by the university for his involvement in the sexual and physical assault allegations levied against the Baylor football program.
“The decision was made based upon the capability of the institution to meet to meet the requirements of FBS membership, which don’t include evaluation of any past, present or future personnel,” said the NCAA general counsel in a statement.