Notre Dame ending historic rivalry with Michigan following 2014 season
The Wolverines were alerted about the changes through a letter by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director David Brandon, announcing the termination of their scheduled games from 2015 to 2017.
Notre Dame and Michigan had already during the summers that the teams intended to take two-years out of the equation in 2018 and 2019, but guaranteed the rivals will meet again in the following years.
Moreover, Michigan and Notre Dame had only reworked their contract in 2007, extending the series through 2031. The contract is set on a three-year renegotiations basis, allowing both Michigan and Notre Dame to opt out any time after expiration of the contract.
"Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision – with a year being added each time a game is played," John Heisler, Notre Dame senior associate director explained the working of the contract.
"We needed to avoid the automatic addition of additional games until we can get a better understanding of our available inventory in those years,” continued John Heisler, “an understanding that will develop as we implement our five-game scheduling commitment to the Atlantic Coast Conference."
Notre Dame announced its decision to immediately shift all sports except football and hockey from the Big East conference to the ACC on 12th September. However, the Fighting Irish are still committed towards paying five games annually against other ACC members.
The school has been hoping to start under normal circumstances with the ACC from 2014. In light of that issue, Notre Dame also intends to retire old rivals and add new ones to the list such as USC, Navy and Stanford, on the basis of an annual game contract.
David Brandon reiterated that the three-year pull out from games was initiated by Notre Dame and it will open new “scheduling opportunities” the Wolverines, with a “chance to create some new rivalries."
"We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame,” said David Brandon, “but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series.”
Although Michigan coach Brady Hoke too found it “unfortunate” that the two sides had to move forward from their historic rivalry, he still believed a bright future lay ahead for the Wolverines once he had an opportunity to discuss future rivals with David Brandon.
Currently Notre Dame (4-0) ranks at No.10, with Michigan (2-2), which started at No.8, falling off the top 10 list following losses to Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish.
The two sides boast a closely matched winning percentage with Wolverines recording their NCAA-best with .735 and Fighting Irish trailing with .732. However, Michigan is leading the all-time series with 23-16-1.
Michigan and last met Notre Dame on-field over the weekend, when the Wolverines defeated the Fighting Irish with 13-6. The final two games of the series will be played at Michigan Stadium on 7th September 2013, while Notre dame will host the Wolverines on 6th September 2014.