Defensive players Tayvion Land and Tre Clark each announced Monday they are planning on transferring from Liberty University because of racism by the school's leadership.
Land made his announcement first:
"My short time spent with the athletic department and most professors at Liberty University was much appreciated as it helped me improve my skills, gain new experiences, and meet a diverse group of friends. Unfortunately, due to the racial insensitivity displayed by leadership at Liberty University, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal and no longer be a student-athlete at Liberty University. I pray that I am able to be provided with an opportunity at a new school that respects my culture and provides a comfortable environment."
As Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports noted, Clark announced his own decision a mere 10 minutes later:
"I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal and I will no longer be attending Liberty University. This decision has been well thought out and prayed on. This decision is simply bigger than football or the program. The program, staff, and teammates were a complete blessing to my live. Over this year I have developed relationships that I will forever cherish and bonds that will not be broken. However, due to the cultural incompetence within multiple levels of leadership, it does not line up with my code of ethics. So therefore I had to do what I felt like was right in my heart and I pray that you support me and pray for me as I find a new home to further my education and football career. Thank you!"
The reasons for the transfers echoes what basketball player Asia Todd said when she announced she was entering the transfer program. While she stressed her coaching staff and teammates on the women's basketball team were "amazing," she pointed to the "racial insensitivities shown within the leadership and culture" as reasoning for her decision:
Todd, Land and Clark did not mention specific instances but instead highlighted an overall leadership problem.
Liberty's president is Jerry Falwell Jr., who is the son of pastor and Liberty founder Jerry Falwell. In early June, Falwell Jr. tweeted a photo of a mask printed with an image of a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. After black alumni and religious leaders denounced the tweet, Falwell deleted it and issued an apology.
Scott Gleeson of USA Today noted Land was the highest-rated recruit to sign with Liberty. The 3-star prospect, per 247Sports' composite rankings, was part of the class of 2019 and was expected to attend Maryland by a number of 247Sports' experts.
According to Gleeson, both Land and Clark were expected to start during the 2020 campaign.
The Flames went 8-5 last season as an independent program without a conference affiliation.