Back in 2007, Michigan athletic director Bill Martin joined Notre Dame AD Kevin White in jointly announcing the 20-year extension of the football series between the Wolverines and Irish. While the original plan of uninterrupted games for the next 25 seasons changed to accommodate a two-year hiatus in 2018 and 2019, new Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon seemed to take a step away from the mutually agreed upon commitment today.
“We don’t really have a contract right now,” Brandon said. “We announced we had kind of reached a meeting of the minds for a 20-year extension with the potential for a two-year hiatus, but that was never codified into a contract. That was what I was handed when I came into the job. So what we’re going to need to do with Notre Dame is sit down and hammer out some specifics.”
Brandon’s description of Michigan “kind of reached a meeting of the minds” with Notre Dame seems quite a bit different than, well — Michigan’s official announcement back in July, 2007:
The University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame athletic departments announced jointly on Monday (July 30) a 20-year contract extension in the Michigan-Notre Dame football series, extending the series from 2012-31. With the current contract expiring after the 2011 season, the new contract guarantees that the two winningest football programs in NCAA Division I history will meet every season for the next 25 years.
“We are pleased to have reached a formal agreement with Notre Dame to extend our football series,” said U-M director of athletics Bill Martin. “We are thrilled that the series between two premier college football programs will continue uninterrupted for the next 25 years.”
Tough to misinterpret this one, but if anyone could do it, it’s the former CEO of Domino’s Pizza. Brandon’s former company backed out of their 30 minutes or less guarantee back in 1993 after getting sued, but brought back the slogan, “You Got 30 Minutes,” in 2007 under Brandon’s leadership, hinting at the pledge of free pizza, but not actually delivering on it.
It’s likely this could be some posturing during the current negotiations between Brandon and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick. Either way, it’s tough to find a way that this makes the Wolverines look good.