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.
"He won't be with us this weekend," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said on Thursday afternoon during his regularly scheduled press conference.
Tressel was vague in the duration or even the grounds to the suspension and it was stated that it was a violation of team rules. The Ohio State head coach said that it would definitely be a suspension this week and then things would be addressed from there.
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Ken Small, Ray's father said in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he saw things differently and that this was part of a bigger plan against his son.
"As of today, I don't think they'll ever put him back on the field," Ken Small told the Plain Dealer. "I'm pretty sure that they're saying get out in a polite way."
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. There have been whispers that Small has been disciplined this season for missing team meetings and lifts as well as possibly missing class.
Tressel admitted that he was not aware of Ken Small's comments and that he has not had an opportunity to speak with Ray's family as of Thursday afternoon. Small's father still is emphatic that there is more to this than what is being seen on the surface.
"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.
With an earlier season suspension to defensive tackle Doug Worthington after a DUI arrest that resulted in missed time but no full game suspension is there a blanket policy for suspensions or something that is more of a case by case basis?
"We handle everyone individually," Tressel said. "That is the way I think to do things. Do we have a set in stone 'if-then then-this'? On some things we do, we have departmental policies, institutional policies obviously. We try and work with young people and bring them from wherever they are to where we would like them to be."
If in fact the history of mistakes is there, even if what could be characterized as small ones, does it lead to a harsher punishment as a whole?
"If a guy makes repetitive mistakes in football he is probably going to lose an opportunity to play," Tressel said. "The same would be with anything off the field. If a guy is repetitive it is going to impact."
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 big 14-yard pass 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.