ODU to open 2018 football season at Liberty University

Liberty University hosts Montana University during CFAW and Family Weekend on September 19, 2015. (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

NORFOLK (WAVY) — Old Dominion Athletic Director Wood Selig announced on Saturday that the Monarchs will open the 2018 football at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

Liberty announced earlier this season that it was moving up from FCS and will begin the transition to FBS. The Flames will not affiliated with a conference and were granted a waiver by the NCAA to become a FBS independent.

“We are excited to play Liberty as they prepare to move up to FBS,” Head Coach Bobby Wilder said in a statement released by ODU. “This gives us another opponent in Virgina and a convenient road trip for our fans. I am hopeful we can play more games with Liberty in the future.”

While the Monarchs were going through their transition from FCS to FBS, they hosted Liberty at S.B. Ballard Stadium in the only other meeting between the schools in which ODU rallied for a 21-17 victory.

“We played a great game in Norfolk in 2013 and I expect the same thing at their place,” said Wilder. “Based on our research of their current facilities and resources they will have the opportunity to be successful immediately. I know their Athletic Director Ian McCaw well and I anticipate he will help guide Liberty to a successful transition to FBS football.”

ODU did have to reshuffle some of its future games to accommodate the 2018 game at Liberty. The Monarchs were originally scheduled to play VMI on September 8, 2018, that game has been moved to November 17. ODU was slated to play at Virginia in 2018, but that game has been moved to 2019.

“I believe our 2018 and 2019 schedules provide a balanced mix of non-conference games that closely align with our scheduling philosophy of creating competitive balance, playing quality opponents, while maintaining fiscal integrity,” Bruce Stewart, ODU Senior Associate Athletics Director said in a statement.

“One of the benefits of this arrangement is that it filled a much needed void in week one of our schedule that would have amounted to potentially having a bye week on the opening weekend of our season. Furthermore, we were able to maintain our current relationship with in state opponents, Virginia and VMI, respectively.”

The game against Liberty offers ODU fans the opportunity to attend a road game that is a relatively short driving distance from Hampton Roads.

In 2018, ODU’s non-conference schedule includes road games at Liberty and East Carolina and home games against Virginia Tech and VMI.

In 2019, the Monarchs non-conference slate includes home games against Norfolk State and East Carolina with road games at Virginia and Virginia Tech.