Saying that “everybody was doing it,” former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small described receiving special deals on cars and selling memorabilia during his playing days in Columbus.
Small told The Lantern that he was aware of NCAA rules. “They explain the rules to you, but as a kid you’re not really listening to all of them rules,” Small, who played for the Buckeys from 2006-2010 and briefly was on the Washington Redskins’ practice squad last year, said. His Ohio State career was marked by disciplinary actions and suspensions. “You go out and you just, people show you so much love, you don’t even think about the rules. You’re just like ‘Ah man, it’s cool.’ You take it, and next thing you know the NCAA is down your back.”
The university is investigating more than 50 transactions between athletes and their families and two Columbus auto dealerships. “They have a lot [of information] on everybody,” Small said, “’cause everybody was doing it.”
Other highlights from Small’s interview:
• “I had sold my things, but it was just for the money. At that time in college, you’re kind of struggling.”
• “We had four Big Ten rings. There was enough to go around.”
• “It was definitely the deals on the cars. I don’t see why it’s a big deal.”
• “If you go in and try to get a tattoo, and somebody is like ‘Do you want 50 percent off this tattoo?’You’re going to say, ‘Heck yeah.’ ”
The NCAA has indeed been down Ohio State’s back, delivering a n otice of allegations that could hint at severe punishment. Terrell Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting will serve five-game suspensions at the start of the season in connection with receiving improper benefits and sales of memorabilia. Coach Jim Tressel, suspended two games by the school, imposed a five-game suspension on himself.
Malcolm Jenkins, former cornerback for the Buckeyes, told the Lantern that players knew what behavior was prohibited.
“What the players go out and do on their own time and make their own decisions is on them,” Jenkins said. “I know [the compliance department] puts things in place to give us knowledge of the rules, give us education on how to deal with those situations, but what the players do with that is another story.”
Mark Titus, a former Buckeyes basketball player, blogged Tuesday about perks. “Any OSU student in the past five years could tell you that a lot of the football players drive nice cars,” Titus wrote. “You’d have to be blind to not notice it.”