Liberty's 2017 scholarships will be in the 70s

(STATS) - As Liberty anticipates its impending move to the FBS level next year, the Flames won't quite be on a level playing field with the competition in their final FCS season.

Coach Turner Gill said Friday Liberty's scholarship count will be in the 70s - perhaps the upper 70s. That's up from the FCS maximum of 63 and moving toward the 85 allowed in the FBS.

While that may not be welcome news to other teams in the Big South, Liberty is ineligible for the conference title and an FCS playoff bid. However, their games count toward the conference standings.

Teams transitioning out of the FCS often go above the scholarship limit.

Liberty, which finished 6-5 last season and won a share of the Big South title for the eighth time in 10 years, will join the FBS level as an independent in 2018 and become bowl eligible in 2019.

After the Flames' departure, Campbell will join Big South football next year, keeping the conference at six members alongside Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Kennesaw State, Monmouth and Presbyterian. North Alabama will reclassify from the Division II level and become a member in 2019.

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