A few days after the latest installment of the Notre Dame – Michigan rivalry, news spread that Notre Dame has decided to exercise a three year opt out clase in their contract with Michigan and will effectively end the series for now after the 2014 game in South Bend.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick informed Michigan AD Dave Brandon that Notre Dame intended to exercise the out clause in the form of a letter delivered on the field prior to Saturday’s showdown in South Bend – a 13-6 victory for Notre Dame over the Wolverines.
Notre Dame’s new agreement with the ACC requiring the Irish to schedule 5 games a season with ACC opponents really made this move – which is hopefully temporary – necessary as Notre Dame looks to solidify its schedule moving forward in the wake of this new agreement.
“Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision — with a year being added each time a game is played,” Notre Dame senior associate athletics director John Heisler said in a statement. “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 Notre Dame – Michigan series is a special rivalry for Notre Dame with a unique history – a history that might not always have been friendly – that will hopefully be able to be revisited in some capacity in the near future. With the 2015-17 games canceled and a planned hiatus for 2018-19 already in place though, it looks like the next time the two storied programs square off after the 2014 game might not be until 2020 at the earliest.
This is the first domino to fall in the wake of the new ACC deal with others likely to follow. Swarbrick has mentioned that Notre Dame plans on maintaining the tradition of playing Navy every year as well as having a west coast presence – ie ending every season in California playing either USC or Stanford. With those three games likely locked in every year along with 5 ACC games, that leaves Notre Dame with just 1/3 of its schedule available for other series such as the planned Texas, Oklahoma, and Miami series Notre Dame has lined up.
We already looked at ACC Matchups we are interested in seeing, but in the wake of this news, we’ll take a look at how the rest of the Irish schedule will be impacted in terms of the ACC agreement shortly.