Happy Thursday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. Have you ever tried to get rid of a ghost? No? Well, let me tell you, it is no easy task. They stick around for generations, causing as much trouble as they possibly can, and scaring the daylights out of scantily clad co-eds until they are either forcibly removed through a combination of a mother's love and some sort of religious artifact, or everyone in the area just goes crazy and everything fades to black.
It's hard to tell what the ultimate outcome of Ray "The Ghost" Small's haunting of Ohio State will be. As he admits in the first item of today's Skull Session, he found himself in the doghouse more often than not during his tenure at Ohio State; and, incredibly enough, he may have worked himself right back into it despite no longer actually being on the team.
Small claiming that Tat-gate esque violations were common is surely going to met with a lot of derision. But there's something worse than Small coming back to voice his opinion about the current situation. It's Small coming back to voice his opinion about the situation and not being completely full of crap.
Not So Friendly The Lantern interview can be found here, and here are some choice quotes:
Small told The Lantern on Wednesday he profited off of memorabilia while at Ohio State, adding that some student-athletes "don't even think about (NCAA) rules."
"I had sold my things but it was just for the money," Small said. "At that time in college, you're kind of struggling."
"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.
"They explain the rules to you, but as a kid you're not really listening to all of them rules," Small said. "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."
Lost in this will likely be that Malcom Jenkins is also interviewed in this piece, and he mentions that he never personally committed any violations but that he doesn't find them to be particularly bad. And in truth, I agree with him. But what Small is saying is damming, not because of who he is or what he's done, but because it is exactly the kind of thing that we as Ohio State fans have always assumed (probably correctly) that players from other schools do all the time. I don't think all, or most, or even a large percentage of OSU players are doing what he claims to have done, but OSU is on the thinnest of ice with the NCAA right now.
My point is this: I know a lot of people are going to dismiss this out of hand because it's either Ray Small or the Lantern. That's fine, and some of his teammates have come out on Twitter to voice those same doubts. The problem though, is that the powers that be do not care about Ray Small's history with the program, and this just gives them another excuse. Ignore his claims, question his motives, just don't dismiss the potential ramifications.
Insert Dismissive Hand Gesture Here I hate hate hate preseason polls. Aside from being useless prognosticators in general, they're also lazy ways for writers to squeeze out a column when they SHOULD be writing parody pieces using screencaps from children's movies about dogs that play sports. Even lazier is writing an article disputing the completely arbitrary order of another writer's preseason poll, especially when you're literally arguing about the difference between two spots. But that didn't stop Stewart Mandel from doing it!
Basically he thinks that Andy Staples should've ranked Alabama first instead of third. And then devoted roughly 1500 words toward voicing that opinion. And then I assume he sat back, lit a cigar, and went "HAW HAW HAW!" before beginning work on an article called "Les Miles: How Does He Do It?"
A Feel Good Story Because What The Hell Kenneth Lyons is the all time scoring leader at North Texas in men's basketball. He played for four years, bounced around various leagues, and found himself in the year 2000 out of basketball and without a degree. Lyons apparently was still more than a year away from graduating, so he's spent the last 11 years getting those credits, dammit:
His hand was guided, not held, through this process. He took on a job working in the university's bookstore to help pay for credits. This wasn't a PR push; Lyons failed an algebra course four times before finally getting through this past year.
That's perseverance, and the mark of a man who understands the true value of college. Way to go, Ken.
Continuing Our Obsession With Lupe I guess it's not all bad at OSU; Lupe Fiasco was the featured performer at OSU's Big Three Concert, and by the looks of things, he threw down: