Montana, Missouri State mutually agree to cancel 2026 football game

By Kevin Kelley -

The Montana Grizzlies and Missouri State Bears have mutually agreed to cancel their football game in 2026, has learned.

Montana and Missouri State originally signed a contract for a home-and-home football series back in 2015. The contract called for the two schools to meet at Robert W. Plaster Stadium in Springfield, Mo., on Sept. 12, 2020 and then at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Mont., on Sept. 18, 2021.

The contest in 2021 was later rescheduled for Aug. 31, 2024, while the 2020 contest was not played due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was later rescheduled for Sept. 19, 2026.

Montana will still host Missouri State this season on Aug. 31. However, the two schools have mutually agreed to cancel the contest in 2026 in Springfield as a result of Missouri State’s reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) beginning with the 2025 season.

Montana has agreed to pay Missouri State $150,000 for canceling the game, according to a copy of the contract amendment obtained from the University of Montana via a state public records request. The amendment was executed on May 31, 2024.

The Grizzlies have no other future games scheduled against FBS opponents and last played one in 2021 when they upset Washington on the road, 13-7.

With the Missouri State game off the 2026 non-conference schedule, Montana now only has a home tilt scheduled against the Utah Tech Trailblazers on Sept. 12.

Meanwhile, Missouri State has three non-conference foes lined up in 2026 after its recent addition of the Marshall Thundering Herd at home (Sept. 19) and the SMU Mustangs on the road (Sept. 26). Both of those contests are part of home-and-home series that begin in 2025, which will be the first season for the Bears in Conference USA.

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Comments (3)

I am confused: If the 2026 game was to be played at Mizz. State, why cancel? and why does Montana have to pay the “buyout”?

Since Mizz State is FBS in 2026, they should play and pay Montana $250K or such