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Though Idaho’s recent readmission into the Big Sky Conference includes every sport but football, the Vandals and Bobcats have found a way to meet on the gridiron.

The two schools recently agreed to a contract that will send Montana State to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow in September 2016, athletics director Peter Fields confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

“They are in the league in everything else and our fans recognize them and it’s a good game for us,” Fields said. “I’m sure our fans are going to appreciate playing them.”

In an article that appeared on GoVandals.net on Saturday, Idaho athletics director Rob Spear said the contest is slated for the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. It will be the programs’ first meeting since 2000; Idaho, which was playing home games at Washington State’s Martin Stadium at the time, routed the ’Cats 56-7.

Idaho leads the all-time series 24-17-1.

Fields said discussions commenced sometime during the winter; an agreement was reached sometime in the past 90 days. The contract will pay the Bobcats $300,000, Montana State associate AD Dan Davies confirmed through a Twitter message to the Chronicle on Tuesday evening.

Montana State received a $300,000 payday for playing Southern Methodist last fall.

Idaho is the latest FBS team the Bobcats have scheduled. Montana State, which has a long history of playing Big 12 teams, narrowly lost to SMU in Dallas, 31-30. The ’Cats will open the 2014-15 season Aug. 30 at Arkansas State, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, of which Idaho is a football-only member.

Among other schools Montana State is currently in discussions with, Fields mentioned a future date with Washington State, but didn’t mention specifics.

“It’s places that our fans can drive to or places that our fans know and schools they recognize,” said Fields, who admittedly was speaking cautiously to not jeopardize negotiations.

Idaho, which was a founding member of the Big Sky in 1963, left the conference following the 1995-96 season. Since their departure, the Vandals have played in the Big West, Sun Belt, WAC and spent last season as an independent.

In 2012, Idaho reached an agreement with the Big Sky to return in every sport but football.

Entering its second season under head coach Paul Petrino, a native of Butte, Idaho finished 1-10 in 2013. Save for an eight-win season in 2009, Idaho has not won more than six games since 2000.

Kyle Sample can be reached at ksample@dailychronicle.com or 582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @kylesample_bdc.

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