Marcus Freeman claims he was misquoted.
The former Ohio State linebacker turned Notre Dame head coach made waves on Tuesday when a quote surfaced where he appeared to be critical of Ohio State's academics in comparison to Notre Dame.
But now, Freeman is claiming that the quote making rounds was not completely accurate and he reached out to 97.1 The Fan to clarify his comments.
“I wanted to set the record straight. I was misquoted by Dennis Dodd in this article, and key words were missing from the quote that upset a lot of people that I care about,” Freeman told 97.1 The Fan. “I’m very proud of my two degrees from Ohio State. I would never discredit the quality of education those degrees represent. I was just specifically really talking about the academic rigors of Notre Dame.”
Freeman was initially quoted by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports as saying: "You don't go to class [at places like that]?" Freeman said rhetorically. "OK, take some online classes, show up for your appointments. At Notre Dame, you're forced every day to go to class."
After reviewing the audio from the interview, Freeman said he wrote down exactly what he said during the interview with CBS Sports:
‘There study habits are formulated every day. You can’t cheat academics at Notre Dame. If I didn’t go to class at Ohio State, 60,000 students. Cincinnati, another big public school, there’s 40,000 students. If you don’t go to class, okay, take some online classes, show up at your final. At Notre Dame, you’re forced every day to go to class. But it formulates this work capacity, this learning capacity.’
Freeman says the key word missing from the quote was the word "If." According to Freeman, the quote should begin with "If you don't go to class" instead of simply "you don't go to class," which he claims changes the meaning of the quote.
"It wasn’t meant to say that 'you don’t go to class,'" Freeman clarified. “When you see a quote that says 'you don’t go to class at places,' that 'Marcus Freeman says you don’t go to class at a place like that,' that changes the entire narrative."
Freeman was, however, directly comparing the academic rigors of a small school like Notre Dame to that of bigger schools like Ohio State or Cincinnati. And he did seem to stick to his implication that Notre Dame was more rigorous because online classes are not typically offered.
“Notre Dame has 8,500 students. Online classes were not a part of the standard curriculum here. In fact, before COVID, they weren’t even offered," Freeman said.
Freeman reiterated his stance that at larger schools like Ohio State and Cincinnati, if a student doesn't wish to attend class in person, they can take online classes instead, which he claims is not an option at Notre Dame.
"If you don't got to class at these big schools that have 60,000, 40,000 students, you can take online classes," Freeman said. "The majority of our kids cannot take online classes because it's a smaller school and you're forced to have in-class attendance."
Regardless, Freeman said he had no ill intent towards Ohio State.
"I would never disrespect Ohio State, I would never say you don't go to class. I went to class. We made sure we went to class," Freeman said. "I would never say that and disrespect my alma mater."