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Notre Dame Football

Marcus Freeman Discusses Ohio State, Notre Dame NIL & More on ESPN's GET UP

July 28, 2022

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman made the trip to New York and joined ESPN’s GET UP on Thursday morning. 

Heather Dinich and Mike Greenberg immediately brought up Notre Dame’s season-opener at Ohio State as the Fighting Irish start fall camp next week. 

"It's great for us because there is no lack of motivation for our guys,” Freeman told GET UP. “We can continue to remind them of the great challenge we have on Sept. 3rd. 

"Being an ultimate competitor, you want to play the best, so what better way to measure your team than to go play a team like Ohio State." 

Freeman also made it clear that while the game against his alma mater is a significant one, Notre Dame also has 11 other games to win in 2022. 

"You remind your guys there are 12 guaranteed opportunities, so we have to make sure we understand that,” explained Freeman. “Every game is your Super Bowl. That's how you look at it in college football. It's one game and every game is the Super Bowl and it starts with Sept. 3rd. After that game is over, we'll refocus and get ready for the next week." 

The landscape of college football has changed in recent weeks with UCLA and USC heading to the Big 10. Freeman was asked where Notre Dame stood as rumors of two super conferences heat up by the day. 

"I depend on our President and Athletic Director - Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick to make those big decisions,” said Freeman. One thing I know is that they and I really enjoy every time you bring that up - programs are talking about what Notre Dame is going to do and we love that. We love being independent. Our program was built on being independent. 

"I think as long as we can continue to do that, we will. I know they will never put our program in a position to fail. If we have to join a conference, I'm sure we will." 

NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) has taken over college athletics in the last year and while most of it has been good, some schools have collectives at some schools have definitely abused the rules. 

Freeman isn’t overly worried about where the NIL world is going. 

"I'm not concerned,” Freeman explained. “I believe that the higher-ups will continue to make sure we do the right things for student-athletes. I know it can kind of go all over the place right now. 

"My job is to focus on within the rules, what is the way we at Notre Dame can maximize our opportunities for our players no matter what conference we're in. I continue to say, 'What's the rules? Great. Let's maximize it here at Notre Dame.'" 

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and Alabama coaching legend Nick Saban have been very vocal about college football turning into free agency in the NIL era, which is cause for concern. 

Freeman admits there should be some guidelines put in place, but he’ll leave that campaign for the established coaches to fight. 

"At some point, the ability to make rules and restrictions that are put in place to really help your student-athletes and your programs not get out of control,” Freeman said. “I think that's really important. 

"I'm not too overly opinionated on it. I've been doing this head coach thing for seven or eight months now. I'm really focused on getting this team prepared. Guys like Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have done it for so long and I'm sure they have a strong opinion on it. For me, it's how can we maximize the opportunities for our guys within the rules and then when they come out with new rules and guidelines, I'm sure we'll be able to capitalize off that." 

Notre Dame is also battling for the nation’s top recruiting class in 2023 and while the Fighting Irish program isn’t paying players like Miami or Texas A&M, Freeman is confident in what he can sell to elite recruits. 

"I think you look at Notre Dame and the big brand and some of the biggest brands in the country and world are associated with this program and university,” Freeman stated. “Name, Image and Likeness can be maximized better at Notre Dame than most places.

"We believe it's a great opportunity to capitalize at Notre Dame, but we also believe in what the education and what spending time in South Bend will do for your future." 

Since Brian Kelly’s departure to LSU, a topic has been made about Notre Dame needing to improve in areas away from the field as college football is in a facility war. 

Freeman strongly stated Notre Dame has enough to win a National Title and the program isn’t focused on what they don’t have at the moment. 

"Absolutely,” Freeman stated. “We won't make excuses for what we don't have. We have everything we need to truly maximize our potential and compete against the best teams in the country." 

And as for that game in Columbus, Freeman knows what’s coming and believes his team is up for it. 

"A lot of power,” Freeman said of Ohio State. “They have a lot of speed and execution. They're extremely good offensively and well-coached. It's going to be a huge challenge for us. We understand that. They're so talented. 

"But our guys are competitors and up for the challenge. We have some great football players here in South Bend and we're looking forward to the competition." 

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