It was reported on Monday that Vitale will not call Wednesday's game between No. 4 Duke and No. 15 UNC. It will be the first game in the series broadcasted on ESPN that Vitale won't work since he joined the network in 1979.
"I told them that I cannot lie when a writer asks me what’s my feeling not doing the game," he said. "I said I have to be honest. And my honest reply to you is, obviously, I’m a loyal, team player. I will go where my bosses tell me to go.
"But in my heart I will absolutely miss being a part of North Carolina-Duke."
Vitale said the annual series between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils has been "a special part of my basketball and my announcing career," and that he will never forget the "magical moments" he's had.
Vitale had called the last few games in the series with play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and former Duke player Jay Bilas, but the pair will call the game without him on Wednesday.
Duke hosts North Carolina at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
- Molly Geary