Notre Dame cancels series with rival Michigan

by Andrew Krammer

Notre Dame’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference has already cost its football program one of the most storied rivalries in college football.

The Fighting Irish will cancel their future games against Michigan, a rival since 1887. Notre Dame moved to the ACC in all sports except for football and hockey, yet the Fighting Irish’s commitment to play five games against ACC opponents per year has tightened their scheduling space.

The Associated Press obtained a letter Tuesday from Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan AD David Brandon, canceling games from 2015 to 2017.

Brandon told the AP he was handed the letter just an hour before Saturday night’s game between the two programs. Notre Dame won 13-6.

“While this move is a necessary precaution as we begin the process of meeting our new scheduling commitment to the ACC,” Swarbrick wrote in his letter to Brandon, “please know that Notre Dame very much values its relationship with Michigan. [We] look forward to working with you to ensure that our great football rivalry can continue.”

The Irish and Wolverines have played every year since 2002. The final two games are scheduled for Sept. 7, 2013, in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Sept. 6, 2014, in South Bend, Ind.

“The ball is in their court because they’ve triggered the three-game notice,” Brandon told the AP. “We’ll play [the final two games]. There will likely be nothing on the board for five years after that. Beyond that, I don’t know what will happen.”

Michigan leads the all-time series 23-16-1.