Marcus Freeman made a move about as aggressive as his signature, in-your-face defenses.
Freeman appeared Wednesday morning on the Columbus, Ohio-based radio program of fellow former Buckeye standout Bobby Carpenter to set straight the record about what Freeman did and did not say, and likewise did not imply, in a recent interview with CBS Sports.
"That's why it was important for me to reach out to you, specifically,” Freeman told Carpenter on 97.1 The Fan FM, “because I wanted to set the record straight. I was misquoted by Dennis Dodd in this article, and key words and context were missing from the quote that upset a lot of people that I care about.”
Freeman then dove deeper into the issue, which on Wednesday had triggered headlines that Freeman had taken a shot at the academic rigors – or lack thereof – for his alma mater, OSU.
"I'm very proud of my two degrees from Ohio State,” Freeman emphasized to Carpenter. “I would never discredit the quality of education those degrees represent.
“I was specifically talking about the academic rigors at Notre Dame. Notre Dame has 8,500 students (now closer to 12,500, per ND) and online classes were not part of the standard curriculum and before COVID, they weren't even offered.”
Freeman said when the negative backlash to his alleged comments began to light up his phone on Wednesday, he was initially “surprised” because had not felt like his conversation with CBS had included any controversial topics.
ND has said the actual transcript of the reporter-coach conversation is as follows:
“Their study habits are formulated every day,” Freeman said. “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 are 40,000 students. IF you don’t go to class, OK. Take some online classes. Show up for your final. At Notre Dame you are forced every day to go to class, but it formulates this work capacity, this learning capacity."
For those keeping track, college football’s first “2022 Game of the Year” pitting Freeman’s first Fighting Irish squad against Ryan Day’s powerhouse Buckeyes’ squad kicks off 11 weeks from Saturday in the Horseshoe in Columbus.