Hoke made a crowd chuckle on Monday at 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 2015-2017.
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.