Notre Dame is opting out of its series with Michigan, meaning the last scheduled game between college football’s winningest programs will take place in 2014.
A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon canceling games in 2015-2017 was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Brandon said he was handed the letter on the field in South Bend, Ind., about an hour before Saturday’s game.
“I put the letter in my pocket and didn’t bother to read it right away because I was focused on the game we were about to play,” Brandon said. “I read it on the way home Sunday morning.”
The Fighting Irish recently decided to move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in every sport except football and hockey, though the football team will play five games a year against league opponents, starting no later than 2015.
“While this move is a necessary precaution as we begin the process of meeting our new scheduling commitment to the ACC,” Swarbrick wrote in the letter, “please know that Notre Dame very much values its relationship with Michigan and we look forward to working with you to ensure that our great football rivalry can continue.”
Brandon said he hopes to work with Swarbrick on another contract.
The Irish beat the Wolverines, 13-6, over the weekend in the latest game of a series that dates to 1887. They’ve played every year since 2002 and regularly since 1978 after not meeting from 1944-77 or 1910-41.
“Because I am providing you with this notice prior to the commencement of this year’s football game on September 22, 2012,” Swarbrick wrote, “there is no liability to Notre Dame for canceling those games.”
The Wolverines have an NCAA-best .735 winning percentage; the Irish (.732) are second. Michigan leads the all-time series 23-16-1.
LSU will face TCU to open the 2013 season at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
LSU will be making its second appearance in the Cowboys Classic. The Tigers opened last season in Arlington, Texas, by beating Oregon. TCU, from nearby Fort Worth, will be making its first appearance in the 5-year-old season kickoff game.