Atlantic Sun Conference rising with Liberty as new member

June 8, 2018

Starting July 1, Liberty University Athletics enters a new era with the move of the majority of its NCAA Division I teams to the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN).

It’s a move that Liberty President Jerry Falwell called “the next big step” for Liberty Athletics.

“The ASUN is a progressive conference made up of high-quality academic institutions and highly competitive athletics programs that will elevate Liberty’s national profile,” he said. “It is a great fit … with some of the fastest-growing and most innovative universities in the South.”

The ASUN includes a blend of private and public institutions: Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville University (Jacksonville, Fla.), Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Ga.), Lipscomb University (Nashville, Tenn.), New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, N.J.), University of North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), and Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.). The University of North Alabama (Florence, Ala.) will also join the league for the 2018-19 season.

“The ASUN footprint allows Liberty to further extend our brand into New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida,” said Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “Those are states where we will be very successful in recruiting students and student-athletes alike that will fit Liberty’s mission.”

All Liberty NCAA Division I sports will make the move, except for football (playing its first season as an FBS independent this fall), field hockey (BIG EAST Conference), and women’s swimming and diving (Coastal Collegiate Sports Association).

ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said Liberty’s new membership will bring “outstanding academics and athletics that will raise the ASUN in those areas.”

“It’s also a place that is growing, and we like to consider the ASUN growing,” he said.

“If you haven’t been to Liberty in the past few years, you’ll really enjoy visiting their campus. It’s just a wonderful campus, from the hospitality to the atmosphere. Their facilities are second to none, and they have a good following.”

Coaches and players have shown excitement about the move, which was announced during a press conference at Liberty’s Williams Stadium on May 17.

“I can already detect the energy level of our players,” said Head Women’s Basketball Coach Carey Green. “We have some challenges in front of us, but it will be great for us.”

Tatyana Crowder, a rising senior guard for the Lady Flames, said, “We’re excited to compete at a higher level and go against greater competition. We’ve had success in the Big South Conference, and we’re looking to just transfer that over to the ASUN.”

The shift to the ASUN ends 27 years with the Big South, during which Liberty has captured 146 championships.

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