The Michigan-Notre Dame series is back on, but it didn’t come cheap for the Wolverines.
Thursday, the Wolverines and Fighting Irish announced a home-and-home series with games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In order to fit those games onto the now-constricted non-conference portion of their schedule, however, the Wolverines had to cancel previously scheduled games with Arkansas in the same seasons.
According to multiple reports, Michigan had to pay to cancel that series with Arkansas, buying the games out to the tune of $2 million.
That’s an awful lot of cash to not play games. But it’s not like it doesn’t make financial sense. Surely the bouts between Michigan and Notre Dame will yield far more than two games between Michigan and Arkansas ever would have.
Additionally, the insertion of the Notre Dame games forced a date change for a 2019 conference game against Rutgers.
"While it’s never easy to change football schedules, I appreciate Arkansas’ Jeff Long understanding of the need for this change, as well as Rutgers athletics director Pat Hobbs and coach (Chris) Ash for agreeing to change the date of our conference game so we could bring this Notre Dame rivalry back to the field," Michigan athletics director Warde Manuel said in Thursday's announcement.
Michigan’s swapping out of Arkansas for Notre Dame also takes away two of the few scheduled games between Big Ten and SEC teams. With those games off the Wolverines’ future schedules, the lone games between the conferences are Wisconsin-LSU (2016), Michigan-Florida (2017), Purdue-Missouri (2017, 2018), Purdue-Vanderbilt (2019, 2029) and Nebraska-Tennessee (2026, 2027).
Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.
Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football.
"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.
"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.
"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline."
Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."
"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.
"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."
Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.
Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.
As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.
Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.
The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.