Recall, if you will, the words of Ohio State’s Ray Small, a wide receiver, in the leadup to Ohio State’s epic
fail clash with USC earlier this year: “Here at Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man,” Small said. “There, it’s just all about football.” Terribly ill-advised, yes, but his heart was in the right place, even if USC went on to demolish the Buckeyes, 35-3. It was still a nice thing to say about head coach Jim Tressel and his program.
Now, just a couple months later, Tressel has rewarded the young public relations guru with… a suspension for violating team rules (read: sleeping through a lecture or something). Small’s family responded by not drawing attention to the situation and explaining the value of following rules and guidelines to the young man. Oh, just kidding, they’ve completely flipped out and have accused Tressel of sabotaging Small’s career, and I swear to God I am not making that up.
“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.” Ken Small said the Buckeyes told his son he’d be out for games against Northwestern and Illinois but that he could possibly return for the Michigan season finale. In the meantime, Ken Small said his son is not permitted at the team’s practice facility. Ken Small said this suspension was spurred in part by missed classes, while Ray denies missing those classes.
LISTEN ALL Y’ALL, IT’S A SABOTAAAAAAAAAGE! Ken Small’s not done setting it straight, this Buckeye-gate. He also told the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER that he encouraged his son to fake a season-ending injury by the third week (mind you, at this point Small was leading his team in catches) so he could take a medical redshirt and transfer with two years of eligibility left. But evil, nasty Tressel saw through the plan, probably because he has a mind-reader gun or something.
But then Small as [sic] 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.
Tricky, tricky! And completely nonsensical. If Tressel were so hell-bent on ridding the program of Small, why not make it as easy and lucrative for him to leave as possible? What lesson would Tressel theoretically be sending by playing Small for one play, other than “you’re a bastard for not following team rules, but you’re still good at football and I don’t want you to feel completely cast aside”?
And on that same note, how do you fake a season-ending injury? You can’t photoshop an X-ray. And if something’s going to take you out for months, it’s definitely going to require surgery. You know, where the doctors sedate you and then slice you open to look at exactly what’s wrong with you, and this is where we see the Smalls didn’t quite think their cunning plan all the way through.
If I were Tressel, and I’m most certainly not, if someone asks me about my feelings on Small leaving the program, there’s really only three words necessary:
“Fine by me.”