One of the biggest upsets of the season happened back in Week 1 when Liberty beat Baylor to spoil the debut of new Bears coach Matt Rhule. While many thought the outcome was a sign of how far things have fallen on the gridiron in Waco, the victory by the FCS-transitioning team on the other side was an eye-opener for those that didn’t know much about the Flames.
If you can get past the fact that the religious school hired ex-Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw to run their department despite the scandal he left behind, the fact is Liberty has spent a considerable sum of money to make football not only a viable sport, but a regional powerhouse. Part of that effort includes moving up to the FBS ranks full-time but it’s no secret that the team would love to find a home in a conference instead of going the independent program route for the foreseeable future. While reports have surfaced that the university has offered $20+ million to join a league, so far there’s been no takers.
Which brings us to Jerry Falwell Jr., the chancellor at Liberty who sent several Tweets recently on the subject and the fact that religious discrimination is playing a part in the Flames being unable to find a conference. USA Today followed up on the comments and… you might be able to guess where things went from there.
“Most college presidents are open-minded, most of them supported us, but there are some who are just plain religious bigots,” Falwell said in a phone interview with Dan Wolken. “And when somebody like me has a political opinion they don’t support, they can’t hide or contain that bigotry, and it’s just sad.”
There’s a lot more in the USA Today article where that came from too. Conference USA didn’t provide a comment on the reports and the Sun Belt cited geography as a reason why their expansion favored Coastal Carolina over Liberty.
Based on those recent comments from Falwell Jr. — no stranger when it comes to political controversy — though, it might be a while before any FBS league comes around to the idea of Liberty joining no matter how good their football team might be.