Ohio State's school newspaper The Lantern spoke with former Buckeye receiver Ray Small this week about his time at Ohio State, with the gist of the interview
being that Small had no regard for NCAA rules and he didn't think
anybody else did either.
Past and Present Buckeyes React to Small's 'Tell-All'
By Tony Gerdeman
Here is just a snippet of what Small told The Lantern: "I had sold my things but it was just for the money. At that time in college, you're kind of struggling. We had four Big Ten rings. There was enough to go around."
"We have apartments, car notes. So you got things like that
and you look around and you're like, ‘Well I got (four) of them, I can
sell one or two and get some money to pay this rent.'"
Small, who was in and out of Jim Tressel's doghouse so much throughout
his career that it was essentially a running joke between Tressel and
the media, admitted to The Lantern that he knew the rules, he just chose not to follow them.
"They explain the rules to you, but as a kid you're not really listening
to all of them rules," Small said. "You go out and you just, people
show you so much love, you don't even think about the rules. You're just
like ‘Ah man, it's cool.' You take it, and next thing you know the NCAA is down your back."
Had he just been implicating himself, that would have been one thing. But he told The Lantern that "everybody was doing it".
So, naturally, when the news broke that supposedly every Buckeye that
Small had played with had committed NCAA violations, some of those
Buckeyes took to defending themselves the quickest and best way they
Departed cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (@ChimChek) had this to "say": "For the record tho. 'Everyone'
does not include 95% of the roster. And I only say 95 cuz I can't be
sure of what every one does."
Former receiver Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) apparently tried to talk some sense into Small: "Stop crying and lieing... Just bc u didn't play as much as u wanted
to doesn't mean u can talk now..."
And since Small pulled no punches when talking to The Lantern, current starting center Michael Brewster (@Brewster50) afforded Small the same quarter by tweeting "He isn't a part of the sacred
brotherhood anymore...never on time, never accountable, never
sacrificed for the team."
He then followed that tweet up with "Show me a coward and I will show you
Former All-Big Ten running back Beanie Wells (@BeanieWells26) certainly didn't hide where he stood on the matter of Small's veracity, saying "The nerve of some cats!! It's one thing
to bite the hand that feeds, but to go and lie about what u were
being fed???? Really?! Smh"
There was anger, denial, disbelief and betrayal tweeted from current
and former players. And it wasn't just football players reacting.
Former Buckeye basketball player Ron Lewis (@Defined_Lew),
he of the game-tying three-pointer in the NCAA Tournament against
Xavier in 2007, showed that the Buckeye lines transcend the different
sports when he tweeted, "I Guess the Perks weren't that Good."
Even a Buckeye who has since transferred to another school weighed in. Willie Mobley (@WillieBeamen96), a defensive lineman who is now at Arizona, responded to the story with "Crazy what Ray said but NO one saw what
he went through at OSU..", but then followed that up with "Damm i could not EVER put my team in
that situation sheesh".
It's no secret, Small went through a lot at Ohio State. He was
suspended for two games as a junior in 2008, and there was even talk of
him leaving for the NFL's Supplemental Draft before 2009. But he stuck
Then, as a senior, still mired in Tressel's doghouse (it was likely a
48-month lease), he made enough strides to be named an offensive
captain for the Michigan game. It was something that nearly put him in
tears. But it didn't keep him from doing whatever it was that he did
that got him suspended for the Rose Bowl a month or so later.
Imagine, after going through so much in his career, he wasn't able to
play in the Rose Bowl in his final game as a Buckeye. Would that
motivate somebody to lash out? Starting right tackle J.B. Shugarts (@Big76Shug) seemed to think it's possible.
"I hope ur happy bro, yea you might be
getting Tress back for w/e but ur taken down all ur boys that were
willing to die for you in 2009..."
So, with the football team already under a microscope, they now have another bit of adversity to deal with.
But as players are taught,
adversity is to be used to bring the team together, and it appears that
that's what many Buckeyes are intending on.
Starting cornerback Travis Howard (@Travishoward_7) tweeted, "We will bend but we will never break
its just more motivation".
Fellow cornerback Bradley Roby (@BradleyRoby25) echoed those sentiments with "All yall doin pushin us to work harder
and making it worse on all the other teams we got to play! #truth".
The anger and feelings of
betrayal will eventually die down, but it's unlikely that it will ever
be forgotten. At least not as long as Jake Stoneburner (@STONEYeleven) is around.
"I know damn well he isn't welcome back in our locker room. At least
not while I'm here!!," the junior tight end tweeted.
Small, who prior to the 2009 Michigan game said, "I could have left, but
Ohio State is what I chose and I'm loyal to what I choose," now finds
himself a pariah to those whom he used to claim loyalty to.
Whether you want to believe Ray Small or not, the fact that this story comes from him is all too believable. He has always been the conveyor of drama, and Jim Tressel
likely thought that his days of dealing with Small were over.
Turns out, however, those days may just be getting started.
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