ANAHEIM, Calif. - When the Ohio State Buckeyes were all present and accounted for in Los Angeles late Christmas night, ready to begin final on-site preparations for their Rose Bowl meeting with Oregon, wide receiver and return specialist Ray Small and defensive lineman Rob Rose were not part of the traveling party.
Their expected absence had been rumored for more than a week, and then confirmed by Ohio State coach Jim Tressel just before the holiday break. The two veteran players were declared ineligible to participate for violations of team rules. Sources inside the program have indicated the suspensions were due to academics, but Tressel did not specify why the pair were left home.
During a festive event yesterday at Disneyland involving both teams, Tressel said he was sorry to see Small and Rose miss the trip, since both are seniors and their OSU careers are now over.
"I'm most disappointed, obviously, for the two older kids," Tressel said. "This could have been a great end of their careers, but life goes on."
Freshman receiver Duron
Carter, the son of former Buckeye Cris Carter, was declared ineligible for the game almost two weeks ago, reportedly for failing to meet academic performance standards. Backup running back Bo DeLande, who was not expected to play in the Rose Bowl, also was a suspension casualty.
Small was third on the Ohio State team with 15 receptions this season, but he led the Big Ten with 33 punt returns and 273 return yards. He also had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Wisconsin.
Rose played in 11 games this season as a backup along the defensive line, where the Buckeyes regularly rotated seven or eight players. He had 10 tackles, three for loss, and a pair of sacks.
Carter had 13 receptions while appearing in all 12 games this season. He scored one touchdown and averaged just under 15 yards per reception.
PRACTICE TIME: The Buckeyes practiced for two hours yesterday morning at the Home Depot Center, a multi-sport complex just off the Harbor Freeway in Carson, about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
The Home Depot Center is the home field for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.
HEADQUARTERS: While in Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl, the Ohio State team, coaches, and many members of the official travel party are staying at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, located on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City, just west of downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to Beverly Hills and Westwood.
Century City is home to a number of glitzy high-rise office buildings which house many of the executives and legal firms with connections to the entertainment business.33.83276 -117.9157