The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

April 1, 2008

WVU to take on Liberty in ’09 opener

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University has scheduled a football game with Liberty University for Sept. 5, 2009, in Morgantown.

In confirming the arrangement Tuesday, WVU assistant athletic director for communications Michael Fragale said the Lynchburg, Va., school will replace another NCAA Division I-AA team, Villanova.

The Wildcats, not a member of the Big East football league, will come to Morgantown for a game against the Mountaineers in the 2008 opener Aug. 30.

“This is a one-year deal,” said Kevin Keys, Liberty’s assistant athletic director for external affairs, who announced the booking. He is a former sports publications director for WVU who later was associated with Morgantown Printing & Binding.

He now oversees several areas in Liberty’s athletic department, including TV and radio, tickets and sports information.

“We compete in the Big South Conference,” Keys noted.

“When I came down here in 2005, we were 1-10 in football. Everybody wanted to play us,

“Last year we won the conference championship. We were 8-3 and nobody wants to play us now. That’s not true at West Virginia, though. I don’t think they’re overly concerned about us.”

He said the new designation for schools in Liberty’s classification is Football Championship Subdivision but that Division I-AA still is politically correct.

The biggest difference between that and Division I-A is the number of scholarships allowed, according to Keys. The major schools can give out 85, but Liberty and others in its class may offer only 65 grants.

“Obviously, schools like us do this for the payday,” he admitted. “But we try to find bigger schools to play so we can get bigger paydays and not have to do it every year.

“We played Wake Forest in 2006 and will play them again in 2012. In 2005 we played Connecticut and last year we played Toledo from the Mid-American Conference. In 2011 we are going to play Virginia.

“Liberty tries to be as competitive as we can in I-AA. We just finished a series with William & Mary.”

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