Notre Dame opts out of series with Michigan

ANN ARBOR — The Michigan vs. Notre Dame football series is coming to an abrupt end.

Contrary to the indications Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick gave the Free Press after Saturday’s 13-6 Notre Dame win over U-M in South Bend, Ind., a Michigan official said Tuesday that the Fighting Irish are opting out of the series as soon as they can: following the 2014 matchup.

The current contract states that a three-year notice is required to withdraw from the series. Michigan received a letter before Saturday night’s game regarding Notre Dame’s intention to cancel the scheduled games in 2015-17.

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press.

The teams have played regularly since 1978 — after a 35-year hiatus. They were scheduled to take a two-year break in 2018-19. U-M athletic director Dave Brandon said Friday that he hoped to resume the rivalry in 2020.

After news broke Tuesday, Brandon released a statement: “The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours. 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.”

On the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said, “My reaction is Notre Dame made a decision and it’s not our decision. Dave told me on Sunday what was going to happen. It’s unfortunate, and that’s a great rivalry and all those things. But they’ve got to do what they think is best. We’ll move on, and it adds some new scheduling opportunities for us. I’m sure Dave and I will have conversations and do what’s right for Michigan.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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