Notre Dame Opts out of Michigan Series

notre dame michigan

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.


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  1. Ahhh, it’s hard sometimes to accept changes. We’ve made our bed with an ACC blanket, guess its time to sleep in it. I am not losing sleep b/c we are not playing the Michie’s every year after 2014. Who knows what may lie ahead in new temporary rivalries that may start, maybe even with an ACC team or 2. I got a feeling at some point in the future the ND-Michie series will be re-newed.

    Go Blue & Gold

      1. My first thought was some type of sandwich, or a bunch of Michigan fans who worship their head coach.

  2. PS, RJR ’84,

    Wake Forest is in Salem, NC, and they are the Demon Deacons. Now I have not the foggiest notion of what a Demon Deacon is!

      1. What about it Irish 94,

        The man is ‘dissen’ your favorite uniforms! Imagine that? Hahahaha.

        Here come the Irish!

    1. My friend @ Ft Bragg told me a Demon Deacon was a church elder gone bad or mad, or both. After Manti gets done they will be the ‘Screamin Decons’.

      1. What an absurd mascot name?

        Like ND or BC calling themselves the “Fightin’ Borgias” or some other mad idea like that!

  3. RJR ’84,

    You make some very good points. Sadly, you begin with a personal insult. Never a good way to start an honest conversation.

    I would prefer to perhaps alternate Michigan and some of our other traditional partners so we can play each other every 3 years at least.

    However, getting a trip every year to the West Coast is key. If we didn’t have BOTH Stanford and USC on the schedule, ND would only make the trip once every other year. Having both ensures a continuous West Coast presence, which is vital for recruiting the student-athlete rich states of California and Washington.

  4. Thanks Mrs. Swarbrick for that previous post.

    We are more interested in the “rivalry” with Stanford than Michigan? Are you kidding? USC is a rivalry. Michigan is (or was) a rivalry. Miami was a rivalry for a while. But the fact that a school shows up regularly on a schedule does not a rivalry make. I don’t know many people who drop what they’re doing to breathlessly find out the date of next year’s “big ND-Stanford battle.” People do that for Texas-Oklahoma. Michigan-Ohio State. USC-UCLA. And yes, ND-Michigan and Michigan-USC. But ND-Stanford? Gimme a break. I understand needing West Coast exposure for recruiting and TV, I guess, but we have USC.

    If this is only the first price to be paid for our briliant pairing with the ACC, what’s next? Changing our famous and admired uniforms for some ridiculous-looking getup with leprechauns on one side of the helmet? Oh, that’s right, already happening . . .

    How about focusing on winning games, consistently. And on avoiding having your players commit crimes and insult the police. And on being, in general, a class act again. That would include not delivering the series “suspension” letter two seconds before the 2012 game as some kind of cute legal maneuver. And if someone could tell me what sate Wake Forest is in or what its team is called, I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Thanks Tinkerbell for that previous post.

      Sorry to hear your stuck in 1984 with a broken time machine.

      Here come the Irish!

    2. I agree with the definition of rivalry.

      However, I went to Notre Dame in the 1980’s and I never saw Michigan as a rivalry. I still don’t really. Their fans kind of suck anyway and are more of a bunch of whiners anyway. “We really beat them even though they scored more points…..if it wasn’t for the refs.” It’s also a reason the US auto industry has had problems. “We would have beaten Honda if their quality wasn’t so good…..People should like our designs more…I don’t have to be a good automotive engineer, I went to Michigan.”

      It’s hard to get to excited about an opponent like that, other than their arrogance. And in fact since the mid 1990’s the games haven’t meant that much.

      Finally, before 1978, the two teams almost never played.

      Oh, and let’s understand this. ND is not forever ending the series. They are just pushing out the next set of games for a few years. What’s wrong with that? future games ARE already on the schedule.

      and by 2020, the whole collegiate landscape might change after these mega conferences implode. This current system is unsustainable, especially when costs skyrocket to maintain a marketable edge. Just watch.

      1. Just for the record, the teams played a good deal before 1909. In 1887, a fellow named DeHaven who had transferred from ND to Michigan wrote to the ND athletic director about the new game they were playing up there. He and the rest of the Michigan team came down to ND and spent a couple of days showing the ND students how to play. They played on and off after that until 1909, when they first beat one of Fielding Yost’s teams. Yost took the term “sore loser” to one of the biggest extremes in sports history, refusing ever to play ND again, pressuring everyone else in the Big 10 to blackball ND, even spreading the rumor that ND had refused to pay George Gipp’s funeral expenses (the actual story is that Gipp’s family, incensed that Gipp converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, refused a collection taken up by ND students to offset his funeral costs, among other pettinesses). So, Rockne took the ND game on the road, playing teams from coast to coast.

        So, if you don’t like Notre Dame, blame Michigan. Fielding Yost made them what they are. 🙂

  5. Well, if we don’t embrace change we will be left behind. Being proactive is the only positive way to move forward! Again, good job Mr. Swarbrick!

    Here come the Irish!

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