Michigan-ND football series appears to be gaining momentum

ND Insider Staff Report
ND Insider

The thaw in the Notre Dame-Michigan football scheduling cold war is picking up momentum, but some new logistical hurdles are in play now that didn’t exist when the series took an indefinite hiatus.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett, appearing Friday morning on the “Michigan Insider” radio show on WTKA-AM (1050) in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the lines of communication are open and strong.

“I will tell you this, the relationship is good, and it started with Jim and coach Kelly working together on a desire to play together,” Hackett said of Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and ND counterpart Brian Kelly.

“But (there’s) nothing firm yet.”

Hackett has been interim AD since Dave Brandon resigned Oct. 31, 2014, and Brandon was a key figure in the series taking a hiatus after the 2014 season. Warde Manuel will take over as Michigan’s permanent athletic director on March 14, but Hackett has said he will remain involved in Michigan athletics.

“Notre Dame is complicated by a different set of challenges,” Hackett said. “One is the respective teams have different television arrangements. It didn’t use to be an issue, and this has been good for Michigan and good for Notre Dame is that we sell the rights ahead of the schedule.

“Starting in 2017, all the television broadcasts of a Michigan game at home or any time we play a Big Ten team are sold by the Big Ten Network. Now, the Big Ten network doesn’t televise all of them.

“ESPN will televise. Fox will televise. But in 2017 this contract starts to deliver our content. For example, in 2017 we play Florida in Texas at Jerry Jones Stadium down there, (and) we wouldn’t be able to see that in the future under this agreement.

“We could still go down there probably if we worked something out. In ’17 you could have NBC a player in both of our camps but we don’t know because the contracts aren’t settled.”

Notre Dame and Michigan, the two winningest programs in college football, have played 42 times. They played 12 times between 1887 and 1909, a home-and-home in 1942-43 and all but six seasons between 1978 and 2014.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett said Friday the lines of communication are open for a resumption of the ND-Michigan football series, but there are some new logistical challenges on the horizon. (AP Photo/PAUL SANCYA)