Tradition is one of the main differences between college and professional football.
And there are few college football programs with the long and storied tradition of Michigan and Notre Dame.
It began when the Wolverines visited South Bend to teach the Irish how to play the game over a hundred years ago and has continued on and off since.
Over the years Michigan and Notre Dame have rung up the most wins in college football history and the best winning percentage- with Notre Dame trailing Michigan in both totals.
Both of these teams have had their share of national championships, Heisman trophy winners, and thrilling games. In short, Michigan and Notre Dame often represent the best that college football has to offer.
But it appears that rivalry is about to take another break, and given the attitude displayed by Notre Dame it might be a long time before we see Wolverines play the Fighting Irish on the gridiron again.
Moments before this year’s contest, Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was handed a letter pulling the plug on the future of the series.
Notre Dame pink-slipped Michigan with no discussion minutes before kickoff, invoking their three year termination clause in such a way that insures that they have the final home game of the series in 2014.
A classier move would have been for ND to meet with Michigan officials beforehand and discus how to keep the rivalry alive in the future.
But Notre Dame has chosen different course.
It takes to two tango. Michigan can’t force Notre Dame to continue the series and at this point it’s hard for me to argue that they should even try.
Maybe in ten or twenty years, a new generation of leaders at Notre Dame will come realize how important the tradition of the Michigan/Notre Dame is for not only for each university but for college football overall.
Michigan Immortal Fritz Crisler said, “Tradition is something you can’t bottle. You can’t buy it at the corner store. But it is there to sustain you when you need it most…”
Apparently Notre Dame officials believe they have so much of it they can throw out their oldest vintage.
I’ll miss playing Notre Dame. I have grave concerns about what teams will take their place on the schedule.
But for now the words of Bo Schembechler come to mind.
“To hell with Notre Dame.”