Western Michigan, Notre Dame to play in 2020

Tony Paul

While Notre Dame’s football series with Michigan and Michigan State are soon set to take a hiatus, the Fighting Irish have finalized plans to play another school from the state.

Western Michigan will travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 19, 2020, athletic director Kathy Beauregard confirmed to The News on Thursday.

Western will get a $1.175 million payday, its largest in school history. Western received $1.15 million to play Southern California this year. If Notre Dame cancels the game more than a year out, Western will get $400,000; if it cancels less than a year out, Western receives the full payout.

“We’re honored and excited about the opportunity to play Notre Dame again,” Beauregard said. “It’s close to the Bronco family, it’s got a lot of history. Every time you step foot on that campus is a thrill.”

The schools, located a 90-minute drive from each other, have played three times, most recently in 2010, with Notre Dame winning, 44-20, in the Fighting Irish’s first game against a Mid-American Conference team. The teams also met in 1919 and 1920, when Notre Dame was coached by Knute Rockne.

This is the first 2020 game on the books for Western Michigan, which will play a home-and-home series with Syracuse in 2018 and 2019, and also plays at Michigan in 2018 and at Michigan State in 2019.

As for Notre Dame, this weekend’s game against Michigan State is the last in the series until 2026 and 2027. Notre Dame plays Michigan in 2018 and 2019, but there are no meetings scheduled after that.