Liberty University

Liberty University announced a new direction for its athletics department recently, as conference membership for its athletics programs will move to Conference USA, starting with the 2023-24 athletics season.

Conference USA will be the all-sports conference for Liberty Athletics, including the Flames’ football team that has competed as an FBS independent program since moving up to the FBS level in 2018.

Along with Liberty, Conference USA announced the addition of three other new members this afternoon: Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, Ala.), New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, N.M.) and Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Tex.).

Liberty enters Conference USA on the heels of its most successful year in athletics department history.

Liberty finished the 2020-21 athletics season with an overall winning percentage of 70.5 percent (220-90-7), while winning 10 conference championships and a bowl game.

Football had a season of “firsts” in 2020, including the team’s first-ever national ranking, first win over an ACC opponent, the best start in school history (8-0 to start 2020), first-ever win over a top-25 FBS program and back-to-back bowl game wins.

The Flames finished the season with a 10-1 record, tying the program’s record for wins in a season (Liberty finished the 2008 season with a 10-2 record).

With the Cure Bowl win over its former Big South rival Coastal Carolina, Liberty became the second transitioning team in NCAA history to win consecutive bowl games during its first two full seasons at the FBS level.

During the 2020-21 season, Liberty claimed conference titles in men’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, men’s tennis, softball, women’s cross country, women’s outdoor track & field, women’s soccer and women’s swimming & diving.

Liberty’s move to Conference USA marks the third athletics conference for the Flames since moving up to the NCAA Division I level in 1988.

Liberty was a member of the Big South Conference for 27 years (1991-2018).