The football rivalry between the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame will be suspended after the Fighting Irish canceled games from 2015 through 2017.
The move comes two weeks after Notre Dame announced that it was moving into the Atlantic Coast Conference for all league-sponsored sports except football. The South Bend, Indiana, school also agreed to play five games a year against ACC opponents, limiting its flexibility in scheduling non-ACC teams.
Notre Dame took the action to avoid an automatic rollover clause that adds a year to its contract with Michigan each time a game is played, Senior Associate Athletics Director John Heisler said in an e-mailed 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,” Heisler said.
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said today in an e-mailed statement that he was informed of the decision prior to Notre Dame’s 13-6 victory over the Wolverines last weekend.
“We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series,” Brandon said.
Michigan and Notre Dame have met 40 times since 1887, including every year since 2002. The Wolverines are 23-16-1 over the course of the rivalry, according to Michigan’s statement.
Notre Dame (4-0) is ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. The Wolverines (2-2) are unranked after opening the season at No. 8.
The two teams will play again next September at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and in 2014 at Notre Dame Stadium. Both schools agreed on a break during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, according to the Wolverines release, and any games beyond that are yet to be determined.