Sports

Ultra-Conservative Liberty University Had To Pay Big To Find A Football Team Willing To Play Them

by Penn Collins

May 17, 2017

Liberty University is best-known for being a strictly conservative and Christian college, but recently, the school has begun working to establish themselves on the football field. 

The school, in an extremely controversial and questionable move, hired disgraced former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw to raise the profile of the college’s football squad “to the level of Notre Dame.” However, unlike Notre Dame, another program with strong Christian ties, Liberty is finding it nearly impossible to land a reputable FBS—Football Bowl Subdivision—(top tier) opponent willing to make the trip to the notoriously conservative campus for their season opener. The hiring of McCaw, who covered up the reports of sexual assault by football players, did nothing to endear their squad to more open-minded and decent institutions. 

The school, which boasts an endowment exceeding $1 billion, reverted to offering a payment to any available squad willing to play them. For the price of $1.32 million, the school found a playmate in Old Dominion, a subpar football team willing to take the cash at the expense of what many believe is its integrity. The two teams will square off in Liberty’s home opener in 2018. 

Paying an opponent to play isn’t unheard of in college football, but historically, the payments have gone the other way, with powerhouse schools offering visibility, notoriety, and cash to smaller schools willing to visit and, essentially, take a loss to pad the bigger school’s regular season record. By paying bigger schools, Liberty’s not only getting their time in the sun in the near term, but also paving their way to a permanent spot in the FBS. According to Deadspin, the school has booked four FBS home games in 2018, one more than is necessary for consideration in joining the FBS on a permanent basis. 

It merits noting the other schools that may not have been paid to play Liberty, but have lent credibility to the controversial institution by making the trip to the Liberty campus in 2018. Those schools are Old Dominion, North Texas, Troy, and New Mexico StateAdministrators attempted to keep the schedule secret, but the school was forced to release it when Donald Trump leaked the details in his recent commencement address to the students. 

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