Hackett: UM-Notre Dame rivalry 'should be restored'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor – There seems to be a lot of support for a renewal of the Michigan-Notre Dame series, but no real legwork toward making that happen and nothing in the works. Yet.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly recently said he thinks “we’re going to see it happen,” and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, in response, said he “would be open to it, yes.”

Add Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett to the list of supporters.

Hackett, appearing on the Michigan radio pregame show, said that while nothing has crossed his desk regarding the renewal, he would very much like to see it happen.

“The way I think about the Notre Dame thing is, that’s a rivalry that should be restored and is destined to have that happen,” Hackett said. “The challenge isn’t, frankly what I think or what (Notre Dame athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) thinks at Notre Dame, it’s now making the schedules work.

“Because of television and because of the Big Ten having 14 teams, we have to find holes in the schedule. I have nothing to report on that, but it’s a great idea, right?”

The series ended for the foreseeable future after last year’s game at Notre Dame Stadium. Former Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said he received a letter from Swarbrick while in South Bend for the game in 2012, indicating the Irish wanted to opt out of the contract after three games.

Kelly, appearing recently on the Rich Eisen Show, spoke positively about renewing the series after Eisen, a Michigan alum, posed the question.

 “I think it’s trending up,” Kelly said. “It’s something we need to get in line to get that going. That’s something everybody wants to get going and get Michigan back on the schedule. I know we’re going to be working hard to see if we can get that done.”

Harbaugh last week was asked about Kelly’s comments.

“I’d have a conversation with Coach Kelly about that before anybody else,” Harbaugh said. 

The next year that Michigan has an open date on its schedule is 2018.

Michigan has open dates in 2018 and 2019 after playing Arkansas home and away, respectively. There are three open dates listed for the 2019 schedule on Michigan’s official website, but Army reportedly will play at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 7, the week after playing at Arkansas.

The Wolverines have several big names in their future non-conference schedules as home-and-away series including Virginia Tech (2020, 2021), UCLA (2022, 2023), Texas (2024,2027) and Oklahoma (2025,2026).

"The way I think about the Notre Dame thing is, that’s a rivalry that should be restored and is destined to have that happen,” said interim athletic director Jim Hackett.