Michigan backs out of another Power 5 series contract

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2018
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

— Arkansas has company in the category of college football teams dumped by Michigan.

The Wolverines on Thursday canceled a football series against Virginia Tech that was set to begin in 2020. Michigan paid $375,000 to break the contract.

According to a release, the Wolverines will play Washington as a Power 5 opponent in those years. The date vacated by Michigan's 2020 cancellation will be filled by Arkansas State, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported last week.

The timing of the move is similar to when Michigan paid Arkansas $2 million in July 2016 to break a two-game contract that had been agreed to nearly four years earlier and was set to begin later this year. The Wolverines made the move to free up schedule space that would accommodate the renewal of a series with Notre Dame.

College football schedules are often planned several years in advance, making a two-year notice relatively late. Arkansas learned that when attempting to replace Michigan on its 2018 and 2019 schedules.

The Southeastern Conference mandates its teams play at least one opponent each year from another Power 5 conference, a military academy, Notre Dame or BYU, but the SEC allowed Arkansas to waive that requirement this year and next after the Razorbacks went more than six months without finding a suitable replacement for Michigan.

Instead, the Razorbacks will play at Colorado State this year and host the Rams next year in Fayetteville. Colorado State is a member of the Mountain West Conference.

Arkansas' future Power 5 requirement games include at Notre Dame in 2020, and at home against Texas in 2021 and Notre Dame in 2025.

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