Marshall-Army Cancellation is Great News For Marist

Army continues to reduce its non-conference schedule, with the Marshall game being the latest casualty. Here's what this means for Marist fans.

Marist and Army have their first-ever matchup scheduled in 2025.
Source: Stockon Photo

After joining the American Athletic Conference, Army's stress of building an independent schedule is gone. Still, Conference membership is a double-edged sword for the Black Knights, who must cancel and reschedule several non-conference games. The deconstruction continued this week for the Black Knights.

Their series with Marshall became a casualty of Army's AAC membership. The two schools agreed to cancel their 2025 and 2026 home-and-home series. Thus, the Black Knights now have an opening on week one of the 2025 season.

Although a seemingly minuscule move, the move is a significant victory for Marist. Army still has six non-conference games in 2025, two of which are the Navy and Air Force games. Thus, the Black Knights must cancel two more non-conference games. Kansas State, Syracuse, Lafayette, and Marist are in the conversation for removal. Army athletic director Mike Buddie previously said Army's ideal non-conference schedule would feature an FCS game and a Power Four game alongside the Service Academy games.

Marist is more likely to stay on the schedule of the two FCS schools. The Lafayette-Army game has an October 18th date, right in the heart of the AAC in-conference slate. The Leopards can not move their game to Army's open week one date since they already have Bowling Green scheduled that day. Meanwhile, Marist only has one non-conference game scheduled for 2025, the Army game, giving the Red Foxes flexibility to take over the Black Knights' week one slot.

Keeping the Army game is incredibly crucial for Marist. The Red Foxes play in the least-heralded FCS conference, the Pioneer Football League. The PFL does not have a national TV deal and is largely an afterthought on the national landscape as a non-scholarship league not named the Ivy League. The game against Army presents a substantial publicity and recruiting boost for Marist and the PFL. Games on linear TV are a rarity for the conference. Marist and Army's game on the CBS Sports Network will be the first national broadcast on linear (traditional) television for the Pioneer Football League in the league's 33-year history.

Furthermore, the Pioneer Football League hardly plays FBS programs due to their non-scholarship status. There have only been five FBS matchups in the league's 33 years. Army-Marist is a David vs. Goliath game of epic proportions.

Finally, Army provides Marist an easy trip alongside their ridiculous travel slate in the Pioneer Football League. Marist's fellow Pioneer Football League schools are an average of 1,066 miles from their campus in Poughkeepsie. In comparison, West Point is only 35 miles from Marist. Marist will receive substantial revenue without extensive travel.

Marshall's loss is Marist's gain. The Red Foxes needed this game to stay Pending further chaos, the stage looks set for a rare and groundbreaking event in Marist and the Pioneer Football League's history.