FBS newcomer Liberty will pay Old Dominion $1.3 million to play in 2018 home opener

Liberty University will pay Old Dominion an unprecedented $1.32 million to play the Flames in their 2018 home opener, according to records obtained by the Virginian-Pilot.

Three months ago, Liberty received approval to join the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as an independent program for the 2018 season, and one of the goals was to ensure a first game against an FBS rival.

Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw said the school can afford to pay the Monarchs the $1.32 million guaranteed fee because Liberty signed a "seven figures" contract to play a game with a Power 5 school later in the 2018 season.

"It was difficult to complete our schedule, and we appreciate that Old Dominion worked with us," McCaw said.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump was invited to deliver a commencement speech at Liberty University, and he announced some of the school's future opponents.

Liberty is in the first of two transition seasons into the FBS and will play 11 FCS teams in 2017 before moving up next year.

Liberty has also signed future home games with Wake Forest, Army, Virginia and BYU, and will play Ole Miss, Rutgers and Auburn on the road.