Lynchburg, VA (Sports Network) - Liberty University athletic director Jeff
Barber publically acknowledged Tuesday night that his school is being
considered membership in the Sun Belt Conference.
Liberty announced nearly a year ago it wants to move its football program from
the FCS level to the FBS. The Flames are a member of the Big South Conference.
"It's just the continual changing of the landscape with Tulsa leaving
Conference USA to go to the (soon to be renamed) Big East and Western Kentucky
left the Sun Belt to go into Conference USA, so it opened up another spot.
We're one of those being considered," Barber told The News & Advance of
FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern accepted invitations last
week to join the Sun Belt in the 2014-15 school year, but other movement within
the conference, including Western Kentucky's impending departure, will leave
the conference with 11 football-playing schools, or one short of its preferred
amount, according to commissioner Karl Benson.
James Madison from the Colonial Athletic Association also is rumored to be on
the Sun Belt's short of candidates.
Liberty's campus has undergone expansion and renovations, including with its
athletic facilities, in recent years. The Flames' average home attendance of
16,318 last season at 19,200-seat Williams Stadium ranked 11th in the FCS.
There are plans for further expansion at the stadium.
The Flames are coached by Turner Gill, who previously led Buffalo and Kansas on
the FBS level.
"Eleven months ago, we did say we're ready and now we are having discussions
with the Sun Belt Conference and we're hoping for good things," Barber said.
"We're ready to move up. We're ready to compete at a higher level. Our coaches
are ready and our staff is ready. We're ready to move."
The Sports Network