Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger discuss Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman’s comments about Notre Dame’s academics being superior to Ohio State’s, and debate if this is anything more than offseason bulletin board material.
DAN WETZEL: Marcus Freeman, former Ohio State linebacker and current head coach at Notre Dame, taking shots at Ohio State and then kind of walking them back. Freeman said he was talking about academics at Notre Dame, OK? I'm not saying from top to bottom, but the majority of our kids are pushed to learn and their study habits are formulated every day. You can't cheat academics at Notre Dame.
And this is from the Dennis Dodd story on CBS Sports. To make his point, Freeman brought up the two most significant football stops in his career before coming to Notre Dame. At Ohio State, Freeman played defensive back for Tressel. At Cincinnati, he earned a reputation as one of the nation's best defensive coordinators. Quote, "If you don't go to class-- and this is in parentheses-- "at those places, OK, take some online classes, show up for your final. At Notre Dame, you're forced every day to go to class." That was the quote.
He went on 97.1 The Fan and clarified the comments. So an Adam Rittenberg tweet saying, "I would never disrespect Ohio State. I would never say you don't go to class and disrespect my alma mater." Freeman said he was noting that because of Notre Dame's student body size, there aren't alternatives if you can't make it to class. Bigger schools, such as Ohio State and Cincinnati, offer online options for those who can't attend in person for most classes.
So, Ross, did Marcus Freeman-- forget his little walk-back, was he trashing Ohio State's academics?
ROSS DELLENGER: [LAUGHS] This is such an off-season story, isn't it?
DAN WETZEL: It's great.
ROSS DELLENGER: It's got all the makings of the off season. And also, I forgot about it, but this reminds me of September 3, right? 7:30 PM--
DAN WETZEL: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, we'll see who's doing online, nix classes that day.
ROSS DELLENGER: --Notre Dame at Ohio State.
DAN WETZEL: Hope Notre Dame can fit it in around their homework.
ROSS DELLENGER: [LAUGHS] Oh, yes. It's such a long time-honored tradition, if you are coaching or employed at Notre Dame, right, to talk about the academic requirements there and to make sure that everybody knows how difficult academically it is.
I was just meeting, you know, a few, couple months ago with Brian Kelly down in Baton Rouge, and he brought it up quite a bit, talking about the academics and the requirements at Notre Dame. So this is quite typical. And I'm sure it is more stringent than other places. But this is quite typical and is good fodder heading into the-- I think that's the first game of the season, isn't it? That's the--
DAN WETZEL: Oh, yeah, opener, Saturday night.
ROSS DELLENGER: --opening kickoff, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Oh, it's going to be huge.
ROSS DELLENGER: So big time, big time.
DAN WETZEL: Be one of the highest rated games and get a little spice on there. I mean, do football players get mad at the idea that they can take online classes? Like, is that really like you insulted their mother? And, look, I didn't go to Notre Dame. OK, I went to public school. But is anyone reasonably going to argue that the entrance requirements and then maybe the grind at Notre Dame isn't, on average, higher than that at Cincinnati and Ohio State?
Like, what are we arguing here? Yes, Notre Dame is a really hard school to get into and probably hard. And, yes, you actually have to go to class because there's 23 people in your class, not 500. Like, I don't-- yeah, this isn't even a thing except people getting mad. This is a little bit like the class debate. Who's the classier programs?
ROSS DELLENGER: I didn't even think he had to walk it back. I mean, why? I don't-- there's-- yeah, it doesn't make sense to-- I guess they--
DAN WETZEL: He doesn't want them running up the score on him.
ROSS DELLENGER: --were feeling a lot of heat. Yeah, right. He doesn't want 55 to 12, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: And he did go there, but it was like when Harbaugh said that about Stanford and Michigan. He's like, yeah, Michigan's got entrance requirements, but Stanford's are harder. And Michigan got all chapped about it. But, like, it's true.
ROSS DELLENGER: Stating fact.
DAN WETZEL: I mean, Ohio State's entrance has increased dramatically, but I don't know that that's what they're-- they don't ride that. I mean, I always say about Notre Dame, you know how you find out someone went to Notre Dame? Wait two minutes, they'll tell you.
You know, Ohio State, yeah, it's-- they may have a big endowment, but I haven't heard a lot of academic bragging from Ohio State fans. Now, they may crush me on it, but I don't-- I could care less. But it's not that hard to get into. Like, it's really hard to get into Notre Dame, sorry. Sorry to break it to you.