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Michigan is first casualty of Notre Dame’s ACC obligations

Notre Dame has opted out scheduled games with Michigan from 2015-17. | Getty Images

Notre Dame has opted out of scheduled games with Michigan from 2015-17. | Getty Images

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Updated: October 27, 2012 6:24AM

Michigan is the first casualty of Notre Dame’s new scheduling agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick informed Michigan shortly before Saturday’s kickoff that the Irish were opting out of the scheduled games between college football’s two winningest programs from 2015-17, effectively ending the series after 2014. The schools already had planned to take a break in the series for 2018 and 2019, so the earliest the teams could play again is 2020.

“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours,” Michigan AD Dave Brandon said. “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.”

Beginning in 2014, the Irish will be playing five games a year against ACC opponents. Swarbrick has already said that Navy, USC and Stanford will stay on the schedule. That puts traditional Big Ten rivalries such as Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan in jeopardy.

“Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision — with a year being added each time a game is played,” Notre Dame senior associate athletic director John Heisler said. “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 Michigan rivalry, while one of the more high-profile ones on the schedule, is actually quite young compared with MSU and Purdue. Notre Dame has played Michigan State 76 times and Purdue 84 times. The Irish have played Michigan 40 times.

Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said last week that he hoped the Boilermakers’ rivalry with Notre Dame would continue.

Michigan State AD Mark Hollis told the Detroit Free Press he had not heard from Notre Dame about the future of that series.

Swarbrick acknowledged when the ACC partnership was announced two weeks ago that some of the program’s annual rivalries were inevitably going to suffer.

“It’s obvious that we will not be able to maintain every rivalry every year,” Swarbrick said.

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