Notre Dame HC Marcus Freeman Clarifies Comments About OSU's Academic Standards

Adam WellsJune 15, 2022

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 01: Head coach Marcus Freeman of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on before the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at State Farm Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman has clarified the comments he made about academic standards at Ohio State.

Appearing on Morning Juice on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus on Wednesday (h/t ESPN's Adam Rittenberg), Freeman said he would "never discredit the quality of education" at Ohio State.

Freeman caused a stir in an interview with CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd that was published June 10.

"I'm not saying from top to bottom, but the majority of our kids, they—I want to say this the right way—are pushed to learn and their study habits are formulated every day. You can't cheat academics at Notre Dame," he said.

To emphasize his point, Freeman mentioned his alma mater of Ohio State as an academic institution where there were more avenues available to students to pass classes.

"If you don't go to class [at those places], OK. Take some online classes. Show up for your final," Freeman said rhetorically. "At Notre Dame, you're forced every day to go to class."

Freeman clarified he wasn't talking specifically about Ohio State as much as every big school in the country.

"When you really look, what exactly I said, I was talking about if you don't go to class at these big schools that have 60,000, 40,000 students, OK, you can take online classes," he told Morning Juice. "We can't. The majority of our kids cannot take online classes here because it's a smaller school and you're forced to have in-class attendance. That's what I wanted to get cleared up."

Freeman played linebacker for the Buckeyes from 2004 to 2008. He was a two-time All-Big Ten second-team selection in his final two seasons at the program. The 36-year-old also earned two degrees from Ohio State.

After a heart condition forced Freeman to retire as a player in 2010, then-Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel hired him as a graduate assistant.

Freeman went on to be an assistant at Kent State, Purdue and Cincinnati before Brian Kelly hired him as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2021.

After Kelly left the Fighting Irish to become LSU's head coach, Freeman was named his replacement in December.

Buckeyes fans will have the opportunity to let Freeman know they don't appreciate his comments, even if something was lost in translation.

Ohio State will host Notre Dame in the season opener for both teams Sept. 3. This will be the first meeting between the two storied programs since the Buckeyes' 44-28 win in the Fiesta Bowl in the 2015 season.