GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has taken the Notre Dame rivalry up a notch.

Hoke made a crowd chuckle on Monday at a West Michigan Sports Commission luncheon by saying the Fighting Irish are ''chickening out'' from the storied series.

Notre Dame exercised an option in its football-scheduling contract with Michigan last fall to cancel games from 2015-17.

Hoke lamented that the Irish will continue to play rivals Michigan State and Purdue, joking he knows why they made that decision.

A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon that opted out of the game was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Swarbrick wrote then that the move was necessary because of commitments to the Atlantic Coast Conference.