So let me get this straight – it’s alright for an Ohio State quarterback to say he doesn’t go to class in person but it’s not alright for a former Ohio State player to say that Ohio State players take online classes?
I’m just trying to make sure I’m not missing anything because that’s what appears to have happened when Marcus Freeman spoke to Dennis Dodd of CBS earlier this week.
“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.”
To make his point, Freeman brought up the two most significant football stops in this career before coming to Notre Dame in 2021. At Ohio State, Freeman played defensive back for Tressel, eventually becoming a fifth-round NFL Draft choice of the Chicago Bears. At Cincinnati, he earned a reputation as one of the nation’s best defensive coordinators.
“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.”
Those comments put Ohio State fans and former players alike in an uproar, including our colleague Phil Harrison of Buckeyes Wire who stated:
If somehow, Freeman finds a way to direct his team to a victory in the ‘Shoe on September 3, he’ll look like a genius, but I’m not sure he expected to get so much blowback on comments he’s made without thinking first . Hopefully, for Irish fans, his judgment on the field is better than what he’s shown so far in the media.
Justin Fields, a former Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback at Ohio State that led the Buckeyes to College Football Playoff appearances, said the following in the fall of 2020:
Fields mused Tuesday afternoon that he hadn’t been around much, spending most of his time at home, where spare time involves watching Netflix, or at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for workouts, meetings and other entertainment.
“But from what I have seen, the campus is beautiful and the people around are great,” Fields said.
Literally nobody is going to argue the academic prestige of Ohio State compared to Notre Dame, just like nobody is going to argue about what both programs have accomplished in football the last 30 years. However, the uproar that Freeman caused by stating something that is abundantly clear to anyone paying attention just reinstates how sensitive (or passionate – you decide) college football fans are about their schools.
In a college football world where you’re essentially recruiting every time you open your mouth, to me this is Freeman simply selling what he has been with Notre Dame since he took over as defensive coordinator in the early days of 2021.
Can we just get to September already?