The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have canceled future football games against the Michigan Wolverines in 2015, 2016, and 2017, the AP has reported.
Through a freedom of information request, the AP found that Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick sent a letter to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon exercising a three-year out in their contract.
Notre Dame and Michigan are still scheduled to meet each year through 2031, with the exception of 2018 and 2019. Their last game under the current contract is set for Sept. 6, 2014 in South Bend.
In a press release, Michigan stated that the future of the games set for 2020-2031 “…has yet to be determined.”
Beginning in 2014, the Fighting Irish will play five ACC schools per year. With that commitment and their desire to play Navy, Stanford, and USC annually, Notre Dame doesn’t have much room left on their schedule.
Notre Dame also has long-term commitments with Michigan State and Purdue. Those contracts could also be targets for modification or cancellation.
Although the Notre Dame-Michigan series is widely recognized as a big rivalry, the two schools have only played 40 times. Michigan leads the overall series 23-16-1.
“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours,” said UM athletics director Dave Brandon. “We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series. This cancellation presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a chance to create some new rivalries.”