Column: Notre Dame not chicken, just greedy
It’s not just Notre Dame, of course, that’s messing with tradition. Conference realignments have either diminished or eliminated some rivalries, including the matchup between Texas and Texas A&M that stretched 118 years until last season. The frenetic search for every last dollar in the college arms race has forever altered football and basketball, and not necessarily for the better.
There is nothing pure about college football anymore; little left to separate it from the pro game except the players don’t get paid. It’s a business, and the best businesses are the ones that generate the most cash.
But the idea that Notre Dame is afraid to play Michigan is absurd, as Hoke himself surely realizes. Almost as absurd as saying the termination of the series is in revenge for Michigan canceling it in the first place in 1910 after, accusing the Irish of using ineligible players. Save for a couple of wartime games, the series didn’t resume until 1978, so it’s not as if the two teams have been battling each year since Michigan won the inaugural game in 1887 by an 8-0 score.
Yes, college football would be a better sport if Michigan and Notre Dame continued to square off every year. And, yes, Michigan probably had its feelings hurt by being summarily brushed aside by the Irish with little explanation.
But, no, Notre Dame didn’t chicken out of a game with Michigan. If anything, what the Irish did was sell out to the highest bidder.
Unfortunately, this isn’t 1887 anymore. And that’s the way college football works these days.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg