This is, well, something.
As you may have been reminded by President Trump‘s commencement announcement over the weekend, Liberty will begin its transition to the FBS level as an FCS independent in 2017. They will then transition to an FBS independent in 2018, although they won’t be able to become bowl-eligible until 2019.
In the aftermath of Trump’s schedule dump, Liberty confirmed a litany of future games, including one against Conference USA’s Old Dominion to open the 2018 season. And, according to the Virginian-Pilot by way of records obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the nascent FBS program will be paying its guests a staggering $1.32 million for said opener.
You could put an asterisk next to that hefty sum, though, as a game against a Power Five opponent that season will seemingly pay for the ODU payout. From the newspaper:
Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw said the school could afford to pay that much only because it signed a guarantee game in 2018 with a Power 5 school “that is upwards of seven figures.” That guarantee essentially will be forwarded to ODU, he said.
Liberty has P5 games against Auburn and Virginia scheduled for 2018. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the program to which the former Baylor AD is referring is the one from the money-rich SEC.
“It was difficult to complete our schedule, and we appreciate that Old Dominion worked with us,” McCaw told the paper.