If you read Nitt Links this morning, you probably already know former Ohio State player Ray Small opened up to the Lantern about NCAA violations committed while he was in Columbus. If you haven't, be sure to check out that link for the full story. Here's a quick excerpt of Small talking about Big Ten Championship rings, then deals on cars.
"We have apartments, car notes," he said. "So you got things like that and you look around and you're like, ‘Well I got (four) of them, I can sell one or two and get some money to pay this rent."
The wheeling and dealing didn't stop with rings. The best deals came from car dealerships, Small said.
"It was definitely the deals on the cars. I don't see why it's a big deal," said Small, who identified Jack Maxton Chevrolet as the players' main resource.
"(People say) ‘Oh you got a deal, it's because you're an athlete,'" Small said. "Playing for Ohio State definitely helps. But I know a lot of people that do nothing and get deals on their cars."
Small goes on to say that "Everybody was doing it" while he was there. Obviously, some in the Ohio State sphere aren't so sure. Reaction after the jump.
Johnny of Eleven Warriors thinks Small was a lone wolf in his indiscretion, citing a tweet by Chimdi Chekwa stating that "Everyone" does not include 95% of the roster. And I only say 95 cuz I can't be sure of what every one does." before saying this.
I completely agree with Chekwa here. The vast majority of OSU football players certainly take NCAA rules and regulations to heart. Unfortunately 5% of players not doing so is enough for the NCAA to jump on, especially now. It really doesn't matter if 95 players didn't take a car deal if 5 of them did and then got found out; that's still five major violations of NCAA rules, and one thing I think college football fans in general are going to have to learn is that the "it happens everywhere" excuse doesn't hold an ounce of water.
He's right. It doesn't hold an ounce of water. But neither does the claim he and Chekwa are making that 5% of the roster is the part causing all the problems. If you add Ray Small to the five players who were busted in January, that's already 7% of the roster out in the open about accepting improper benefits. Could they possibly be the only ones accepting stuff? I doubt it.
The problems at Ohio State are systemic. That, not the fact that it was the unfortunate school to have a small number of its players busted, is why it's in the trouble it's in and methinks that's why Jim Tressel went to the lengths he did to cover up Tattoo-gate. He knew that if news of major violations like those got to the media, it would open the floodgates and the truth would come out about the entire culture of corruption that exists at The Ohio State University.
Tressel is a smart guy. He wouldn't throw his entire reputation down the toilet to protect five players, a Big Ten title or a chance to win a BCS Bowl. He did it because, whether directly or indirectly, he knew there was plenty more out there that could be far more damning. We're seeing that now, and man, it ain't pretty.
If throwing Ray Small under the bus helps Ohio State fans feel better about that, so be it.