Michigan, Notre Dame never signed contract to extend rivalry series
CHICAGO - Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Wednesday that the Wolverines and Irish never signed the 20-year contract they agreed to three years ago. The extension, which is still in the works, will continue the storied football rivalry into the 2030s.
Lon Horwedel | Ann Arbor.com
“We don’t really have a contract right now,” Brandon said at the Big Ten spring meetings. “We announced that we had kind of reached a meeting of the minds for a 20-year extension with the potential of a two-year hiatus, but that was never codified into a contract.
“That was kind of what I was handed when I came into this job. So what we’re going to need to do with Notre Dame is sit down and kind of hammer out some more specifics.”
In March, Michigan announced it would host its first-ever night game against Notre Dame in 2011 and its series with the Irish would continue through 2017, with a two-year break to play a home-and-home series with another school. The rivalry would resume in 2020, the press release said.
In 2007, Michigan and Notre Dame jointly announced a 20-year extension to play every season through 2031.
Brandon was asked Wednesday what his intentions were with the unsigned contract.
“To work with Jack (Swarbrick), the athletic director at Notre Dame, and hammer out something that’s good for both schools,” he said. "He’s new and I’m new from where that 20-year announcement was made so we’ll just have to kind of pick that up, and when we have something to share publicly we’ll share it."
Of course, the issue of continuing the Michigan-Notre Dame series could be moot if the Irish decide to join the Big Ten. Commissioner Jim Delany said no decision on conference expansion is expected until this fall at the earliest.
Brandon said suggestions Michigan and other Big Ten schools boycott Notre Dame if the Irish remain independent are “silly.”
“I don’t agree with that, that that’s going to accomplish anything,” he said.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.