- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hoke told a crowd at the West Michigan Sports Commission luncheon in Grand Rapids that the Irish were "chickening out" of their series with the Wolverines.
"We have unbelievable rivalry games at Michigan," Hoke said. "The Notre Dame, that rivalry, which they're chickening out of ... they're still going to play Michigan State, they'll play Purdue; they don't want to play Michigan."
Notre Dame, because of stipulations in the contract between the schools, had to give notice of termination of the deal three years in advance, due before kickoff of the game between the schools that year. The Irish gave notice to Michigan on the night of Sept. 22, 2012 -- just before the teams played.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon discussed the situation with ESPN.com Tuesday at the Big Ten spring meetings in Chicago.
"I'm not sure I would have used the word 'chicken.' That's kind of how football coaches would think about it, and that's OK," Brandon said. "Brady's a pretty straightforward guy. I would just say Notre Dame had choices to make, and they chose to back away from a rivalry game we've had on our schedule for a long time.
"It's going to be a long time. We've both been busily scheduling out into years into the future. And as I understood it from my counterpart at Notre Dame, they're making plans to go in a different direction. So the earliest we could schedule would be sometime post-2021, 2022, and when you start talking that far out, who knows. So it's going to be a while.
"The night game we have at Michigan Stadium this September, and then our last trip down to South Bend next year are going to be really exciting because it's going to be the end of the rivalry, at least for a considerable period of time."
This decision came 10 days after Notre Dame announced its move to the ACC, and with it, an agreement to play five games against schools in that conference each season.
"The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame's and not ours," Brandon said in a release in September. "We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame, but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series."
Michigan and Notre Dame will play on Sept. 7 in Ann Arbor, and then the final game of the series on Sept. 6, 2014, at Notre Dame.
Information from ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg was used in this report.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke took issue Monday with the way Notre Dame pulled out of its annual football rivalry game with the Wolverines.