COLUMBUS Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said yesterday receiver and punt returner Ray Small was suspended for one game to start with and that he had handled the situation correctly, despite complaints from Small s father.
Tressel confirmed Small will not play when No. 12 Ohio State plays at Northwestern tomorrow. Team spokeswoman Shelly Poe said the suspension was due to a repeated violation of team rules.
But Small s father, Ken Small, said he is mystified why his son is being suspended.
They re intentionally trying to blow his career, Ken Small said.
It has been no secret Ray Small has continually been in and out of Tressel s doghouse for the past two seasons. His father said the latest suspension stemmed from missing or being late for some classes and meetings. He also said part of his problems were parking tickets.
Ken Small cited several other recent transgressions by Ohio State players and compared them to the minor problems his son has had. One player a year ago was arrested for propositioning a female police officer posing as a prostitute. At least two players have been arrested for driving under the influence.
Ken Small said it was clear his son is being treated unfairly by Tressel.
He had a couple of incidents, but he never got caught smoking marijuana before the national championship game. Or he never got a DUI or picked up a prostitute. He was just late, Ken Small said. And the punishment is you can t even go into the [practice] facility? They act like he s dangerous. These other kids didn t get banned from the facility. All they got was being sat down for the first few plays of a game.
Tressel hinted Small, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder from Cleveland, was being punished for ongoing problems.
If a guy makes repetitive mistakes in football, he s probably going to lose opportunities to play, Tressel said. The same would be with anything off the field, if a guy s repetitive, it s going to impact [his playing time].
Tressel, speaking at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, grew increasingly upset as reporters asked questions about Small s suspension. Tressel meets with reporters every Thursday for 15 or 20 minutes after he finishes his radio show.
He abruptly ended the interview after five minutes.
OK, guys. Thanks. I appreciate it. I thought we were going to talk about Northwestern. Thanks. Thanks, he said.