Michigan became the first casualty of Notre Dame’s new scheduling agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said on Tuesday that the Irish
have cancelled the scheduled games between the two traditional
powerhouses from 2015-17, effectively ending the series after the 2014
edition. The schools already had planned to take a break in the series
for 2018 and 2019, so the earliest the teams could play again is 2020.
“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not
ours,” Brandon said. “We
value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the
future holds for any continuation of the series. This cancellation
presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a
chance to create some new rivalries.”
Beginning in 2014, the Irish
will be playing five games a year against ACC opponents. Notre Dame
athletic director Jack Swarbrick has already said that Navy, USC and
Stanford will stay on the schedule. That put traditional rivalries such
as Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan in jeopardy.
“Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision —
with a year being added each time a game is played,” said Notre Dame
senior associate athletics director John Heisler. “We needed to avoid the automatic addition
of additional games until we can get a better understanding of our
available inventory in those years — an understanding that will develop
as we implement our five-game scheduling commitment to the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
The Michigan rivalry, while one of the more high-profile ones on the
schedule, is actually quite young compared with MSU and Purdue. Notre
Dame has played Michigan State 76 times and Purdue 84 times. The Irish
have played Michigan 40 times.
Brandon told SiriusXM radio on Tuesday afternoon that he received the
letter regarding Notre Dame’s decision an hour before kickoff on