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FBS Feasibility Study Press Conference Video Available
Earlier today from the Club Pavilion of the Williams Stadium Tower, Liberty Athletics held a press conference to further discuss Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s announcement during the University's 39th commencement ceremony regarding the program's FBS Feasibility Study and FBS intentions for its 20 athletics programs.
During the last six months, Liberty University has worked with Carr Sports Consulting, LLC, to conduct an exhaustive analysis of its athletics and University programs.
The expansive FBS Feasibility Study examined all facets of the University to see if Liberty University is capable of meeting the demands of competing at the highest level of NCAA Division I competition.
Below are some highlighted comments from Chancellor Falwell, Director of Athletics Jeff Barber and Bill Carr from today's press conference, which was video streamed live via the Liberty Channel and the Liberty Today mobile app.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University Chancellor and President
"To have success academically, spiritually and athletically, you have to have the financial resources. And we're there."
"Besides our 100,000 students, within 12 months here, we'll have an incredible fan base of evangelical Christians across the country that no other university at that level will have. We think the future is bright, and there's just no limit to where Liberty Athletics can go. We could not be more happy about it."
"I communicated to the Big South Commissioner and all the CEOs of Big South schools on Friday, that this was our intention, before I announced it on Saturday. I received back a lot of gracious e-mails from them, telling us that they knew this was coming. We didn't surprise them, because they knew it had been our goal, since the founding of the school. We told them that until we are invited, we will continue to be an active, participating member of the Big South. It's been a good relationship for us there."
"Jeff Barber has played a key role in getting us where we are as fast as we did, and he is to be commended for the fantastic job he's done."
"We're telling these conferences that we can make a decision in 48 hours. No other school that they've talked to can say that or has said that."
"I was here from day one and watched it all progress from playing Ferrum College in that first game at City Stadium to where we are today. So, it's extremely exciting for me. It was a dream back then, but it seemed real to us. Just to see it come into fruition now is incredibly exciting. It's great to be here during the time I was here and to see it go from where it started to the fulfillment of it."
"Thanks to Bill Carr and his connections, we are talking to other FCS schools that do want to move to FBS and there is coordination with those schools. We're not just doing this by ourselves, but we're working with other schools that are similarly situated."
"We're considering starting the next section [of construction], over there across the field, after the last game this year, but that decision is not 100 percent final yet. But it is very likely."
Jeff Barber, Liberty University Director of Athletics
"Obviously, this is a huge step for this university, in realizing the dream of becoming a major university. When you look around, there's not a major university that doesn't have a major athletic program. That's what the goal has always been for this institution."
"Now that we've announced that we're ready for FBS football, now that we're ready to move our 20-sport program into an FBS conference, we are now in a waiting period of being asked by a conference to become part of their home."
"There are things you can control and things you can't control. One thing we can control is having our infrastructure ready, having our academic office ready and all of those things. We've been doing this for five years, and we are ready to move forward."
"I'm here to tell you that we're here to win the national championship in all 20 sports that we have. That's why we're doing this. We're not doing this just to compete. We're here to win, and we're here to win at the highest level."
"Over the past five years, since a lot of these things have been in motion, it's all been done with intention, it's all been done with purpose and it's all been done with boldness. The intention and the purpose was to move this program forward and to move it to the FBS level. So, it's been a long process, but I'm excited. I could barely sleep Friday night, Chancellor, knowing that you were going to make that announcement."
"We may be waiting for an invitation, but that doesn't mean we're going to be sitting on our hands. We push the envelope. We're proactive. We're aggressive in all that we do. So, as we're waiting for that invitation to come, I can assure you that we're going to continue to push the envelope and we're going to continue to work as hard as we can. Our goal is not to be an FBS institution. Our goal is to be a competitive and successful FBS institution, and there's a big difference in that. When we land in a conference, we're not just happy that we got there and we're going to sit back. We're just going to continue to push so that we can be a champion at that level as well."
"We've talked to several conferences and will continue to do all that we can with that. We are looking to move our entire sports program into an FBS conference. Our goal and intention is to bring all 20 sports."
"It's just a wonderful thing for this university. I think it's the most wonderful university in the world. To be a part of it in what I do, I feel very fortunate."
"From our standpoint, our 20 sports are ready. We're ready to move and we're ready to move today."
"Liberty is a national university, and even can be said an international university with our online program, including 50 states and 70 countries. For Liberty, we're not afraid of expanding outside of our geographical region and competing on the national level."
"As a Christian university, there are households all over the country that want to turn us on and watch. We believe that's a national advantage for us. I think all you have to do is look at Notre Dame and Brigham Young, and you see faith-based institutions with folks all over the country, and they get support from all over the country. Not only do we have that from our faith, but we have that from our online program. The combination of those two really does make us very attractive."
"The plan at this point is to add an upper deck on the other side that would bring us to 25,000 seats, with the potential of a three-story building there that would also house new athletic offices, academic suites, an academic area and perhaps further suites for the stadium as well."
"The university will be in a much bigger spotlight. That's one of the reasons that athletics was used as an example, along with music, to build our university. It's going to have a big effect. From a recruiting standpoint, it will be humongous. People want to play at the highest level, and we do feel that's where we want to be. Everything gets ratcheted up, including the competition, the visibility and the pressure. It will affect every sport, every coach and every student-athlete that we have."
Bill Carr, Carr Sports Consulting, LLC.
"In the 21 years that I've been serving as a consultant to college athletics, we have conducted dozens of studies for schools with athletics initiatives for the institution. That's either going from Division II to Division I, or adding football or going from the FCS level to the FBS level. Of all of those schools, and that's several dozen studies, there's really been no school more prepared for its major athletics initiative than Liberty. Liberty is prepared in every sense of the word for this move."
"There is a new rule out there in the NCAA that you can't move forward unilaterally. You must move in concert with a conference. So, we are working on that angle very aggressively. No one can predict when that will occur, but I can tell you without any hesitation that communications are ongoing and that there is a great sense of expectation that this will come to fruition in the future. We can't say the near future, but we can say in the future. I can also tell you without any hesitation that conference realignment is far from over. Every time you turn around, there's a new development."
"A feasibility study is where you identify, describe and quantify the ramifications of the issues that surround the potential athletics initiative, in this case going from FCS in Division I to FBS in Division I. That's what we've been doing the last six months. We've had our entire group here looking at every aspect, from Title IX to financial, facilities, operating procedures, personnel, salaries, scholarships, every aspect of how you do business as a Division I program. We have been very thorough."
"We render this judgment that we declare today that Liberty University is ready. It's on the move. It's ready to make this move. As we communicate with potential future partners at the FBS level, we're excited to tell them of our confidence in this program and its very bright future."
"Entering a conference, the metaphor there is a door with a latch on the inside. There is no handle on the outside of that door for you to open. The invitation has to come from the inside, and that's literally the way it works."
"I feel good about what's happening for Liberty University, but we can't begin to predict where or when that's going to happen. But you can be certain that we are very diligent in our efforts and we appreciate the leadership of the university in every sense of the word in being responsive to whatever may appear on the horizon."
"With NCAA Division I legislation, it is extremely problematic to create a new conference. It is not a simple thing to do at all, and there are a lot of reasons for that. I think that's not impossible, but I think that's highly unlikely. I think you'll see some permutation of existing conferences that will be the ongoing piece."
"Regardless of whether you're talking about intercollegiate athletics or you're talking selling plumbing supplies, you can be certain of this principle. The market will prevail. That's a fact. The market will prevail. If it makes sense financially, things will happen and continue to happen. If things do not make sense financially, they will not continue. That's the underlying factor. … That's one of the strengths of Liberty University and its blessings right now. It's in a very strong financial position, and we see every reason for that to be sustained. Therefore, that's a very real sign of encouragement for the future of Liberty University and its athletics program."
"Each institution must focus on those things it can control. The number one thing you can control is strengthening your infrastructure for success. That starts with your facilities, funding of your program, scholarships, the kind of staffing you have, including administrative staff as well as your coaching staff. Those are points that are very much in favor of Liberty at this point."