Notre Dame's Freeman: I never meant to belittle OSU academics
"I would never disrespect Ohio State," Freeman said, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
The Buckeyes alum told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd that players "can't cheat academics" at Notre Dame because they have to go to class every day. He compared that to Ohio State and Cincinnati - where Freeman was an assistant coach from 2017-20 - saying students at those schools can just take online courses if necessary.
However, Freeman told WBNS radio Wednesday that he was comparing school sizes, not academic standards.
"When you really look (at) 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," the first-year head coach explained, per Rittenberg. "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 earned two degrees at Ohio State and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Buckeyes in 2010. He also played linebacker for the school. Freeman said Notre Dame graduate assistant and former Ohio State star James Laurinaitis first told him of the backlash to his remarks.
The 36-year-old Freeman did say he's sold Notre Dame's academic reputation to prospective recruits. The Fighting Irish currently hold the top 2023 recruiting class with 15 commitments.
Freeman, who previously served as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator, was promoted following Brian Kelly's departure to LSU.