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New York Times features Liberty's 'football crusade'

November 11, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

A New York Times article published in the Sports Sunday section on Nov. 11 shows Liberty University’s football program, and the school at large, is gaining national prominence.

“At Liberty, once a tiny Bible college but now a budding giant, the plan is for college football — big-time, always-on-television college football — to do for evangelical Christians in the 21st century what Notre Dame football did for Roman Catholics in the 20th,” reporter Bill Pennington writes.

In an interview on Liberty’s campus last month, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. told The New York Times: “We think there would be a vast, committed fan base of conservative, evangelical Christians around the country and maybe even folks who are conservative politically who would rally behind Liberty football. They would identify with our philosophy.”

The article points out Liberty’s rapid growth in the last decade, with currently more than 82,000 online students enrolled and expansions occurring all across campus, including new residence halls that will bring the residential population to near 20,000, construction of the new Jerry Falwell Library, and a medical school.

Athletics, it says, has been a large benefactor of Liberty’s firm financial footing, with a new baseball stadium under way and a newly expanded Williams Stadium that includes locker rooms and training facilities that “resemble those of a top college program, if not one in the N.F.L.”

“At a time when many large public universities are increasingly crimped by shrinking state budgets or a lack of space to expand — if not both — Liberty has ample money and room to grow,” Pennington writes.

The article shows Liberty is poised for an invitation to the FBS conference and headed toward more national exposure, just as its founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., envisioned.

“Football’s role in making Liberty a national institution was my father’s vision from the very beginning,” Falwell, Jr. is quoted in the article. “It might have seemed far-fetched then, but not now. We’re as ready as anyone can be.”

Read the full article here.