- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The air quality in Missoula was rated “very unhealthy” Friday due to smoke from forest fires in the region. Under University of Montana’s athletic practice policy, student athletes would be restricted to activities that do not increase their breathing rate.

But UM officials say it would be really difficult to cancel Montana’s season-opening football game against top-ranked and four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State University. It is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and be carried on ESPN.

Montana’s head trainer J.C. Weida says athletic directors from both teams will meet on Saturday and decide what to do if the air quality is still “very unhealthy.”

Earlier this week, associate athletic director Chuck Maes told the Missoulian the air quality would have to be “really, really, really bad for us to shut it down.”

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