Courtesy of MCT
Being an athlete at Ohio State comes with a certain expectation, an expectation that you carry yourself with pride on and off the field.
That would imply maintaining good academic standing, staying out of trouble and wearing the pride of Buckeye nation on your shoulders.
Enter former OSU wide receiver Ray Small, who just can’t seem to keep himself out of the media spotlight.
His most recent transgression involves a felony charge for allegedly possessing 243 suspected Oxycontin pills, hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes, undisclosed suspected amounts of heroin and a loaded 25-calber pistol after the car in which he was a passenger was pulled over and searched.
Granted, while Small had his issues at OSU, he was never involved in anything of such a serious nature. In fact, it wasn’t the law he toed the line with, but former OSU coach Jim Tressel.
Tressel suspended Small in 2008 for two games and also for the 2010 Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl game was the last chance Small had to suit up in a Buckeye uniform.
He also found himself in the news after he spoke to The Lantern last spring and admitted that Buckeye players received benefits including discounts on automobiles. Small’s former teammates chastised him for his comments.
With this latest transgression, Small has elevated himself into the company of former OSU running back Maurice Clarett, not somewhere anyone should want to find themselves.
The problem is not necessarily that Small had a run in with the law. Rather, the problem is that Small is just another name that can be added to the list of former Buckeye’s finding themselves in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Small and Clarett can be found alongside the names of former Buckeye’s like Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Dominic Clarke, Jaamal Berry and Michael Current.
Pryor and Posey were involved in the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal of last season that ultimately led to the resignation of Tressel and saw Pryor forgo his senior season for the NFL. Posey ended up serving five games for his role in the tattoos scandal and an additional five games after being overcompensated for work done in the summer months for former OSU booster Robert DeGeronimo.
Berry was charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct after a Nov. 2 incident and has since left the team for good.
After being charged with drunk driving on Jan. 7, Clarke was released from his scholarship. It was the second time in less than four months that Clarke had been arrested, after he was arrested for an incident involving a compressed-air gun Oct. 9.
Current, a former lineman who played under coach Woody Hayes in the 1960’s, was found dead in a wildlife refuge just outside of Salem, Ore., on Jan. 16. He is believed to have taken his own life and was facing five counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of luring a minor at the time of his death.
Perhaps this past year has been an aberration, something we won’t see again for a very long time.
Or, it’s part of a growing trend that is beginning to reflect poorly on OSU.
OSU was always the knight in shining armor, there to set the example for the rest of the college world to follow, something that clearly hasn’t been the case recently.
Coach Urban Meyer was criticized while at Florida for the amount of off-field incidents his players were involved in. Hopefully the same problems don’t follow Meyer to OSU.
A few years ago, Small would have been the exception, but today, he’s part of a trend.
And that is a problem for OSU fans everywhere.