Former Ohio State Football player Ray Small gave an interview with The Lantern (Ohio State‟s Campus Newspaper) on May 26, 2011 which ended up at numerous media outlets. In the interview, Ray Small made claims that he sold memorabilia for cash and received car deals while at Ohio State, and that “everyone was doing it.”
Current Merrill Lynch employee and former Ohio State Football player Harrison Till responds to Small‟s allegations.
Adam Jardy of BuckeyeSports spoke with former Buckeye Harrison Till today and what he, along with multiple other current and former Buckeye players, had to say completely exposed any and all previous claims by former Buckeye Ray Small, and not surprisingly, Small has now changed his story in an interview with Columbus station, 10TV.
Here's the story from Jardy
As far back as I can remember, every single Saturday during the Fall months in Northern New Jersey were dedicated to watching the Ohio State Football Buckeyes march up and down the field in Ohio Stadium. My father was a varsity letter winner for The Ohio University men‟s track & field program and my Mother, a member of a sorority who appreciated the wholesome life of the mid-west while enjoying the culture of Ohio State. Bottom line, they both bled Scarlet and Gray.
After meeting at Ohio State and eventually getting married, they have spent the last 41 years maintaining their friendships and all of their memories from Ohio State.
As children, my older and younger brother and I were diehard Buckeye fans. Our parents would take us on trips to see Ohio State football games and they would often point to the success of the football program, and with great pride would sing the Ohio State fight song in our home, certainly encouraging us to sing along. The Ohio State football program represented an environment which we had no exposure to in New Jersey. The passion and sense of pride that the people of Ohio felt for Ohio State football impacted us in a positive and permanent way. The idea of watching Joe Germaine throw a touchdown to Dave Boston, Eddie George running for a touchdown, Orlando Pace pancake blocking, or Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson sacking a quarterback allowed me to dream of one day becoming one of those student athletes, wherever I might end up in college. Seeing these players run out of the Ohio stadium tunnel each and every week inspired me to dream of playing college football at Ohio State and to never give up on that dream.
To say that I was sad and beyond disappointed to see a former Buckeye teammate and Ohio native provide false information to a media outlet this week about how he spent his once lifetime opportunity as a member of the Ohio State football team along with the rest of his teammates is an understatement. With all of the current controversy surrounding Ohio State‟s football program, I knew that there would be several players mentioned in numerous articles, but I never thought that someone would make such a regrettable and defaming comment as did Ray Small. I personally witnessed countless moments when Jim Tressel supported Ray Small in times of adversity when others were prepared to throw him under the bus. I cannot comprehend the lack of appreciation for the man who is Jim Tressel – who would do anything to ensure his athletes get an education and have an impact on his student athletes‟ lives.
My experience of being a student athlete for Jim Tressel was a very unique road that not many have traveled. My parents made every possible sacrifice to provide my brothers and myself with the best education possible with no ceiling above our heads. This mindset is significant and is part of our tradition of having the privilege of living in America. There are so many who do not have the ability to live in a free country and chase their dreams with no regrets.
After graduating from high school, I earned the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Duke University. At Duke, I lettered in football and track & field, and was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll for maintaining a 3.24 grade point average. After my Redshirt Sophomore seasons in football and track & field, it was brought to my attention by a mentor of mine that I was in a position to graduate with my undergraduate degree in three years. More importantly, there was an NCAA rule that allowed student athletes who graduated early with their undergraduate degree to attend a different division one University retaining all of their remaining athletic eligibility, as long as the student athlete pursued a graduate school degree that was not offered at the previous university.
After receiving my release from Duke University to contact other schools, I met with football coaches from Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. After meeting Jim Tressel on my official visit to Ohio State, he was by far the most honest, ethical, and open minded coach I encountered on my journey and my decision was made. Almost every division one football coach that I spoke to during this time period had never heard of this NCAA rule and would not give me a chance. Jim Tressel saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to accomplish my childhood dream of playing football for The Ohio State University.
After graduating from Duke University in the Summer of 2005, I moved to Columbus, Ohio to start summer workouts and my matriculation of coursework in the Masters of Labor and Human Resource Management program at the Fisher College of Business. All of my teammates at Ohio State; black, white, latino, and arabic reminded me of an army that would go to war and compete against each other every single day for the best coach in college football. I will never forget the work ethic and the commitment that AJ Hawk dedicated to Jim Tressel at our 5:30 a.m. workouts. I will always remember Anthony Gonzalez being interviewed as a potential Rhodes Scholar. I will always cherish the experience of competing in collegiate athletics as a graduate school student with Stan White II and Brandon Mitchell. Most importantly, I am a better person because I had the opportunity to learn about life from Jim Tressel.
It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men like AJ Hawk (NFL), Bobby Carpenter (NFL), Justin Zwick (Medical Sales), Anthony Gonzalez (NFL), Stan White II (Investment Banker), Rob Sims (NFL), Jay Richardson (NFL), Malcolm Jenkins (NFL), and many others “sold memorabilia for cash” and received improper benefits while being a member of the Ohio State football team. To say that “everyone was doing it” just because Ray Small says so, is ludicrous. All of the former Buckeye players are extremely proud to say that they played for Jim Tressel because of the obvious influence he had on our lives both on and off the field.
The opportunity to accomplish my childhood dream of running out of the tunnel in Ohio Stadium, to receive a Masters Degree from The Ohio State University and to maintain lifelong friendships that I made in my two years on the team will be cherished forever. The many Ohio State alumni that I have been privileged to meet over the years are a constant reminder of how special my two big ten championship rings and my two pairs of gold pants are.
Jim Tressel gave Ray Small the opportunity to receive a free education and then use that education to improve his life and to help others who need assistance. After being mentored by the legendary Ted Ginn Senior of the Ginn Academy Charter School and the Glenville Football program; a man who has made a difference in so many peoples‟ lives, it is apparent that Ray does not understand and never did grasp his place in the World.
Part of being an adult in this World is making decisions every day and then dealing with the consequences of those decisions. If someone offers you money for a Big Ten championship ring or a car deal that violates the NCAA rules, you have the option of saying yes or no. In the grand scheme of life, there is no one forcing you to break the rules and the most successful people will embrace adversity and grow from experience.
Obviously, I am proud of my Ohio State championships, my Masters degree, and all of my Student Athlete teammates that I had the privilege to practice and play with. Most importantly, I am proud of the relationship that I still maintain with Jim Tressel and that we never lost to Michigan. Nevertheless, I pray that Ray Small may be able to one day restore the bond he has shattered with the Ohio State family and most importantly, I wish him good luck with his journey in life and certainly hope that he can one day be as proud of his family and accomplishments as the student athletes that I am.
Merrill Lynch (San Diego, California)
The Ohio State University "07"
Duke University "05"
And here's the story from 10TV
Former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small said on Friday that he was mischaracterized this week in an interview he had with the university's newspaper.
Small, who said he and "everybody" on the team sold memorabilia and received discounts on cars while playing football, told 10 Investigates' Paul Aker that he was misrepresented in an article that was published this week in The Lantern.
"It's hard being an athlete," Small said. "That was basically what I was saying. (The Lantern author) just flipped my words around and make the whole Buckeye Nation hate me."
Small went on to say that The Lantern got the majority of the story wrong.
The Lantern denied Small's allegation, Aker reported.
"We, 100 percent, stand by our story," said Lantern Editor Zach Meisel. "Everything (Small) said was recorded."
Small was quoted in The Lantern article and said that some players "don't even think about NCAA rules."
He told the newspaper that he sold his Big Ten championship rings to cover the cost of living. He also said that the "best deals" came from car dealerships.
Several Ohio State football players spoke out against Small through their Twitter accounts.
"Show me a coward and I will show you Ray Small," center Mike Brewster tweeted. "He isn't part of the sacred brotherhood anymore. Never on time, never accountable, never sacrificed for the team. Can you trust his word?"
Five Buckeye players are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia to the owner of a local tattoo parlor. That is considered an improper benefit under NCAA rules.
Coach Jim Tressel was suspended and is under investigation by the NCAA for knowing about his players' involvement and not telling his superiors for more than nine months.
On Friday, the tattoo parlor owner whose relationship with the players led to suspensions and the NCAA investigation will plead guilty to federal charges, including drug trafficking, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Edward Rife faces a possible sentence of up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine, according to documents detailing terms of the plea agreement.
During a federal drug investigation, authorities raided Rife's home and west side tattoo shop. Among the items seized were several pieces of Ohio State football memorabilia.
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Ray Small photo courtesy of BuckeyeFanPhotos.com