Liberty, Idaho change NCAA classifications

Idaho, shown with wide receiver Mason Petrino (4) running with the ball against Missouri last season, officially made the swtch down to FCS status Sunday.Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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Liberty University and Idaho officially changed their NCAA classification Sunday.

Liberty completed the transition from FCS status to FBS while Idaho made the switch downward to FCS. NCAA playing level changes and conference realignments officially take place on July 1 each year.

Liberty, which started the transition in early 2017, will play its first season as an FBS program as an independent. Among the opponents on the Flames’ schedule include road games at Auburn, Army and Virginia. They will also play an in-season home-and-home against New Mexico State. Liberty opens the season Sept. 1 against visiting Old Dominion.

The Flames are not eligible for a bowl game until the 2019 season.

Idaho, on the other hand, dropped down in classification. The Vandals go to the Big Sky Conference after participating as a football-only member of the Sun Belt Conference. That does not mean they have an easy schedule. The Vandals start the season at Fresno State (an FBS opponent) on Sept. 1 and begin Big Sky play Sept. 22 at UC Davis. They finish the regular season Nov. 17 in a tough nonconference matchup at Florida, also an FBS foe.