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11/6/2008 11:49 AM
WR Ray Small  (United States)
Ohio State player suspended, father lashes out
Source: Associated Press
Posted: Thursday, November 06, 2008 7:47:00 AM EST
Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008 10:44:30 AM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio(AP) Ohio State receiver and punt returner Ray Small has been suspended in what his father describes as heavy-handed and unfair treatment on the part of coaches.

Ken Small says his son is out for two games for missing a class, a charge he says his son denies. An athletic department spokesman says the suspension is for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Small's father said in interviews published Thursday that he thinks Ohio State is intentionally trying to ruin his son's career.

Small was OSU's leading receiver through the first three games of the season and returned a punt for a touchdown. Since then he has seen less playing time and has caught only four passes in the past six weeks.

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11/6/2008 11:49 AM
Re: WR Ray Small  (United States)
Ray Small Suspended, Faces Uncertain Future
Small has been suspended.
Small has been suspended.

Staff Writer
Posted Nov 5, 2008

Ohio State junior wide receiver Ray Small's rocky tenure with the Buckeyes appears to be over. Small was suspended by the team Wednesday, and his father told BuckeyeSports.com that a return to the Scarlet and Gray is unlikely. Read on for the latest news in this developing story.

When he arrived at Ohio State, Ray Small was dubbed as the next Ted Ginn Jr., a player electrifying enough with the ball in hands to make something happen on every play.

Now it appears his Buckeye career is over, as Small has been suspended by the Buckeyes for at least two weeks while his father, Ken, feels the situation is the latest in a string of moves that have held his son back while in Columbus.

“This thing goes back and back and forth but we thought we had resolved all the issues with the coaching staff at Ohio State,” Ken Small said. “Ray’s biggest problem was while he was in the so-called doghouse earlier it was because he was late to a couple classes and late to a team meeting and I think he fell asleep in one of the meetings.”

After having toiled in what OSU head coach Jim Tressel once termed “a pretty big doghouse” during the offseason, Small endured a number change and saw his name appear alongside the team’s walk-ons in the 2008 media guide. He appeared to have put his past problems – situations such as arriving late to class or team meetings – firmly in the rearview mirror.

Following the USC game, Small was the team’s leading receiver with 14 receptions for 92 yards. For the year, he is second on the team with 18 catches for 149 yards.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Small called his father to tell him he had been suspended again and that he was not allowed to be within the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for two weeks.

Ray Small showed his father a piece of paper showing that he has missed class four times, but Ken Small said he contacted the professor who assured him his son was there. Ken Small said his son also missed practice time to vote early in the week and that the absence was excused but still held against Ray.

“Today was out of the clear blue sky,” Ken Small said. “It’s like they were sitting around looking for ways to wreck Ray Small’s life.”

Ken Small then pointed out that other players have failed drug tests and been arrested for DUI but have faced weaker punishments than his son in his eyes.

Ray Small ran afoul of the coaching staff prior to spring practice, and the junior went through spring practice unsure as to whether or not he would be allowed to participate in the team’s annual spring game. Later that spring, the coaches had a meeting with Small’s parents, his brother and teammate Rob Rose, also an alumnus of Cleveland Glenville and a close family friend.

The decision was made to stay in the program and work to prove his worth.

“I just felt like you’re at The Ohio State University and people would kill to be in your shoes and now you want to walk away,” Ken Small said. “I looked around and saw all these pictures of these great football players and I said, ‘My son’s picture could be up there.’ ”

The Small family entered the season believing that Ray was in the clear and poised for a big season. At the team’s media day during fall camp, Ray Small told BuckeyeSports.com that he had grown throughout the process and was looking forward to proving that he had put his past problems behind him.

“I’m very proud of Ray and how he’s responded to the adversity that he’s faced in the last six or seven months,” OSU wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell said prior to the USC game. “He’s come back, he’s worked his tail off and he’s done everything we’ve asked and he’s beginning to produce the way we thought he could produce.”

Following the USC game, though, Small saw just one play of action in the team's game against Troy despite his team-high six catches one week prior. Tressel downplayed any sort of disciplinary situation following the game, but Ken Small said his son saw one play of action to ensure that he would not be able to qualify for a medical redshirt.

Through it all, the coaches have assured the Small family that they want to see Ray Small remain a Buckeye. That does not appear likely to happen now, however, as he is looking at trying to land a spot in the NFL Combine at the end of the season with hopes of being drafted.

Ken Small said they had received that advice from Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr.

“Right now the advice for him is to see where you place without hiring an agent and then it’s possible you could come back next year or go someplace else,” Ken Small said. “He’s so far in that he really has one of two choices: one is to stay there and keep getting abused or ignored and the other is pray that he can get invited to the combine and show them what he can do.”

Where Ray Small will play next season is unclear at this point, but it seems likely that his time as a Buckeye is over.

“I don’t see him playing for them,” Ken Small said. “I really don’t see him playing for Ohio State ever again.”

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11/6/2008 11:54 AM
Re: WR Ray Small  (United States)
Associated Press
Ray Small lost his number before the start of the 2008 season and now appears to be suspended.
The struggles for Ray Small continue in Columbus (Ohio) with Ohio State announcing that the junior wide receiver has been suspended for violating team rules.

The former Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville star has been no stranger to running into trouble with team rules since arriving on the Ohio State campus. That was never more evident than when the coaching staff stripped Small of his No. 4 jersey and reassigned him No. 82 for the 2008 season.

Reportedly there has been a history of missed meetings and lifts that have landed Small in the doghouse with the coaching staff. Before the start of the season Small told the media that he was ready to put his troubles (losing his jersey number, etc...) behind him and focus on the upcoming season.

Small has seen the majority of his playing time as a punt returner during the 2008 season but two weeks ago in the Penn State game he caught a pair of passes on Ohio State's late drive that resulted in a game ending interception of Terrelle Pryor. Through the 2008 season Small has had 18 receptions for 149 yards. His 18 receptions rank him second on the team in catches. Small has also had 18 punt returns for 238 yards which far and away leads the team.

Small ended up back in the doghouse leading up to the game against Troy and did not record a stat in either the Troy game or the Minnesota game as well.

Ray's father Ken was contacted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday night and was more than a little concerned about the situation.

"We see it as a family that they are intentionally blowing his whole career," Ken Small said to the Plain Dealer. "Whatever it is, it's personal.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel will meet with the local media after his weekly call-in radio show and the topic of Small's status will be one of many talking points.

BuckeyeGrove.com will be at the Thursday update with coach Tressel and will have more details as they become available.
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11/6/2008 11:55 AM
Re: WR Ray Small  (United States)

Ray Small Suspended For Two Games, May Transfer

From the Plain Dealer:

Ohio State junior receiver Ray Small has been suspended from the team indefinitely and Small's father, Ken, believes the suspension is another instance of coach Jim Tressel unfairly holding his son back.

"We see it as a family that they are intentionally blowing his whole career," Ken Small said Wednesday night. "Whatever it is, it's personal."

From what I've heard (and what is mentioned in the article, and what Ken Small admits), if Ray blowing off class and meetings is personal, then yeah, it's personal. Of course, I could have heard wrong and Tressel may have something against Small. Stranger things have happened, though not many.

Regardless, the suspension sucks for the team, but if it results in a situation that allows Small to be successful, then it's probably for the best.

From a team standpoint, if there had to be a suspension, receiver was not the worst place for it. While Small was, at times, the most reliable receiver the Buckeyes had (and at times the most unreliable, but you take the good with the bad), there is plenty of talent behind him on the depth chart. This should get Dane Sanzenbacher, DeVier Posey, and Lamaar Thomas on the field more on offense.

On special teams, this should hopefully make punt returns less dramatic. Small is one of the best return men in the conference, but he has a tendency to turn easy catches into difficult ones. I expect Tressel will replace him with Brian Hartline on punt returns, which would be okay. Hartline should be a solid, reliable returner who hopefully won't make any diving catches inside the ten on punts. However, I'd like to see Lamaar Thomas get some time. The guy has Ted Ginn-level speed and moves, and the more return opportunities he gets, the better it is for the team.

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11/6/2008 11:56 AM
Re: WR Ray Small  (United States)

Ray Small suspended, will leave program

Posted by Vico in Buckeye Football |

Ray Small, during the Sparty game
From the “Say whaaaaaat?” wing of Ohio State news comes this surprising bombshell just made public: Ray Small — junior wide receiver and Glenville product — has been suspended indefinitely by Jim Tressel.  Further, it is incredibly likely that Ray Small will either transfer to an FCS school to play his senior season or will go pro if there is the slightest interest in him.  In short, his brief career as a Buckeye is effectively over.

The nature of the issue isn’t entirely known.  It may actually be a combination of things.  The Kremlin only made it known that Small was suspended for a “violation of team rules”, which is a generic, catch-all category of suspendable offenses.  However, the Cleveland Plain Dealer added more details from Small’s dad (Ken) that makes the situation look none too pleasant.

Ohio State junior receiver Ray Small has been suspended from the team indefinitely and Small’s father, Ken, believes the suspension is another instance of coach Jim Tressel unfairly holding his son back.

“We see it as a family that they are intentionally blowing his whole career,” Ken Small said Wednesday night. “Whatever it is, it’s personal.”

Small, who moved to the Columbus suburbs from Cleveland to support his son this season, said Ray came home Wednesday night and said, “I’m through,” after being told of his suspension for what an OSU spokesperson said is repeated violations of team rules.

Small’s troubles were nothing new.  He spent the offseason as a topic of conversation for Buckeye beatwriters and fans alike.  Hell, he even lost his no. 4 jersey entering this season, which appeared to be reducible to his absence from classes.  However, things didn’t end there, according to Ken Small.  In spite of meeting with Tressel in the offseason to address these issues, the elder Small thinks that the litany of youthful indiscretions — be it a bad grade, a parking ticket, or showing up late to team meetings — eventually (unfairly, according to Small) cost him his standing on the team.

But after a meeting with Tressel before the season, the Small family believed that Ray was starting fresh.

“We went into the office because we felt Ray didn’t have a chance to play here, and I looked around at all these great players and I said we should stay,” Ken Small said. “So I sided with Tressel against Ray. But we did say if this is going to be problem from this point forward and you’re going to hold it against him, then let us know and Ray will leave. They assured us there would be no repercussions from that.”

But then Small as demoted for the fourth game of the season against Troy, for what Ken Small said was almost being late for a meeting, along with another player. Small played once in that game, on an odd call in the fourth quarter, a reverse on third and long. Ken Small said Tressel did that to assure that Small could not red-shirt this season, because he was encouraging his son to think about faking an injury, receiving a medical red-shirt for playing in fewer than four games, and then having two years of eligibility left at another school.

Faking an injury to gain a redshirt is troubling to hear, but moving on…

So (basically) ends the Buckeye career of one the most highly hyped Buckeye recruits in recent memory.  For a player that Ted Ginn Sr famously hyped as the best wide receiver he ever coached, the end to his career seems all too ignominious.  Indeed, the most outstanding memory Buckeyes will likely have of his two and a half year career is of him getting his bells rung against Minnesota as a freshman.  Things never got better, it seems.

I’m not into picking a side (per se) on this issue, but more interested into seeing what’s going to unfold from it.  I just believed that, in spite of the errors that cost him his jersey number and in spite of his inferior play, he would eventually turn it around and be a quality receiver.  Looking back 15 years in the past, his story to this point was indistinguishable in most respects from that of Terry Glenn, save for Glenn being a walk-on and Small being the highly touted recruit.  Both had struggles and both even had academic issues while enrolled at Ohio State.  The obvious difference now is that Small exited the program his junior year with little fanfare while Glenn exited the program his junior year with a Biletnikoff Award.  Depending on what else unfolds, it should be interesting to see if this hurts (to whatever extent) Buckeye recruiting out of the Glenville pipeline.

As a personnel issue, Small’s departure takes away what was basically the best punt returner the Buckeyes had.  However, minus a grab here and there, it shouldn’t matter much to the wide receiver corp.  If anything, it should make next year’s receiver rotation the slightest bit clearer.

Still sad, though.

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