LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Liberty University says the NCAA has approved its request for a waiver to begin reclassifying into the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The school says it received the notification Thursday. It had requested a waiver into the two-year process in January even though it does not have an invitation to join an FBS conference.

The Flames will compete as an independent when they begin the process starting with the 2017-18 academic year. Liberty will have three FBS football homes games in the 2018 season. They will be bowl eligible and required to have at least five FBS home games in the 2019 season.

Liberty says the waiver approval came because the school demonstrated its readiness to begin the process, Liberty's ability to follow current FBS institutions who have demonstrated viability without a conference affiliation and the university's ability to satisfy FBS requirements.