July 30, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame and University of Michigan athletic departments announced jointly on Monday a 20-year contract extension in the Notre Dame-Michigan football series, extending the series from 2012-31. With the current contract expiring after the 2011 season, the new contract guarantees that the two winningest football programs in NCAA Division I history will meet annually for the next 25 years.
"The Notre Dame-Michigan game has been a red-letter date on the football schedule for a long time, so it made perfect sense to make certain the rivalry continues annually long into the future," said Notre Dame director of athletics Kevin White.
"We are pleased to have reached a formal agreement with Notre Dame to extend our football series," said Michigan director of athletics Bill Martin. "We are thrilled that the series between two premier college football programs will continue uninterrupted for the next 25 years."
The Wolverines and Fighting Irish rank No. 1 and No. 2 all-time, respectively, in Division I victories, winning percentage, television appearances and final composite AP poll rankings. Michigan leads the all-time series, 19-14-1. The rivalry dates back to 1887 with an 8-0 Michigan victory at Notre Dame, the first of eight straight Michigan wins in the series. After playing nine times between 1887 and 1909, the series went on hiatus before the teams split a pair of games in 1942 and 1943. The teams would not face one another again until 1978, since which time they have played every year except six, taking two-year breaks in 1983-84, 1995-96 and 2000-01.
"This is great news that Notre Dame and Michigan will be playing for the next 25 years," said Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis. "As the head coach of Notre Dame and an alumnus of the University, I'm very glad that Kevin White and Bill Martin have maintained this series. This rivalry is good for both schools and college football."
"I am delighted that Bill Martin and Kevin White were able to work through all of the issues to ensure that we have an uninterrupted continuation of the Notre Dame-Michigan series," said Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. "It is a game our players and alumni, and every college football fan, deserves. I am ecstatic they were able to come to an agreement."