Months back news began to circulate that the Notre Dame – Arizona State games in 2015 and 2017 would be casualties of Notre Dame’s new commitment to play five ACC games a season. On Wednesday, however, the two schools struck an agreement to salvage the 2015 contest in Tempe despite canceling the 2017 matchup.
When news began to spread that the 2015 and 2017 home and home series would be canceled because Notre Dame could not work it into the schedule with their new obligation to the ACC, Arizona State was steadfast in their public statements that they had a contract for the games and were still planning on hosting Notre Dame in Sun Devil Stadium in 2014. Wednesday agreement which included moving the game to November 8, 2015 allowed for that to happen.
Arizona State Athletic Director Steve Patterson confirmed the comprise in an official release.
“We’re pleased that Notre Dame was able to resolve its scheduling issues in a way that allows it to play at Sun Devil Stadium in 2014. The game will now be played on Nov. 8, 2014. Our entire Sun Devil family–season ticket holders, fans, students, alumni–and our entire community here in the Valley have been looking forward to playing Notre Dame in Tempe since the original agreement was signed in 2008.”
When Notre Dame and Arizona State originally agreed to the contract for the home and home series, Notre Dame was still a member of the Big East for all sports other than football. Last summer, however, the University reached an agreement with the ACC to join the conference for all sports other than football. As part of that agreement, Notre Dame was able to maintain its football independence, but did agree to play five ACC opponents every season.
This new obligation put both the 2014 and 2017 games against Arizona State in jeopardy, and initially, reports were that Notre Dame tried to cancel the series. The Arizona Republic, however, reported that the original agreement did not include a buyout. Without a buyout clause, Arizona State was not willing to part with their home game against Notre Dame – and rightfully so.
To allow for the 2014 game to remain on the schedule, Arizona State was willing to move the game back two weeks from it’s originally scheduled date of October 25 back two weeks to November 8, 2014.
Arizona State’s trip to South Bend in 2017, however, was indeed canceled as part of the agreement allowing the Irish greater flexibility in scheduling ACC opponents that season. The 2013 game scheduled to be played in Jerry Jones mega stadium in Arlington, Texas, was never in question and as expected will be played as scheduled this fall.
Also from Peterson:
“While the game at Notre Dame in 2017 has been canceled, what is most important to us is that the game in Tempe has been saved. Under a separate agreement we also play Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on October 5, 2013.
The agreement makes a lot of sense for both schools. Notre Dame gets the schedule flexibility in 2017 it was looking for while being able to keep their 2014 trip to Temple and honor that end of the agreement. From Arizona State’s perspective, they get to keep their biggest home game of the season on the schedule and host a team whose fans travel very well.
In fact, Tempe road trip anyone?
The Notre Dame players can’t be too upset with a November trip to Tempe right about the time the mercury starts to drop in early November in South Bend either. With their trip to Tempe confirmed, the Irish players will get to spend a weekend in Arizona and another in California during the month of November next fall. Not a bad way to end the semester.