Cullowhee, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Western Carolina's football program will open its 2017 season at the University of Hawaii in a first-ever meeting between the two programs.

The game will be played Sept. 2, 2017 at Aloha Stadium. The NCAA will allow Western Carolina to play 12 games that season while the rest of the FCS will have a maximum of 11 regular-season contests.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes to go and play a very good Mountain West opponent, and to do so in a beautiful setting in Hawaii," Catamounts coach Mark Speir said. "The chance to play this game really adds to the overall quality of our student-athlete experience for our football players at Western Carolina."

WCU athletic director Randy Eaton said the terms of the undisclosed contract will cover the cost of the team's trip.

The Catamounts finished 7-5 last season - their most wins since 2001 - while tying for second place in the Southern Conference.