by Rick Kindhart
After receiving a waiver from the NCAA to move their 2020 football season opener, Missouri State University and the University of Oklahoma announced Saturday they will now play on Saturday, Aug. 29, a week earlier than the originally-scheduled contest, when the programs square off at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The NCAA approved the request to move the game to allow the schools more schedule flexibility in addressing potential issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will mark the first-ever gridiron meeting between the two programs, and a start time for the game has yet to be determined.
“We really appreciate the NCAA’s waiver approval to move our game with Oklahoma up to ‘week zero,’ said Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “The request was made purely for the safety and health of the student-athletes and will allow both teams two weeks to recover before their next games and adjust as necessary to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic.
“We very much appreciate OU, specifically AD Joe Castiglione, and their efforts and communication throughout this process. I look forward to Aug 29 and the kickoff of the college football season for us in Norman.”
According to Oklahoma officials, broadcast information and other details related to potential stadium capacity limitations, revised game-day procedures and new safety protocols will be announced in the coming weeks.
The 2020 season opener will mark the debut for the Bears new head coach Bobby Petrino, who inherits a program with 31 returning lettermen and 12 returning starters. Petrino is 119-56 in 14 previous seasons as a collegiate head coach.
The Oklahoma game will mark Missouri State’s third straight football season opener in the month of August. The Bears also opened the 2019 campaign on Aug. 29 with last season’s debut at Northern Arizona.