HUNTINGTON - Huntington High School basketball star O.J. Mayo is suspended for the team's next three games following a settlement between the athlete, the school and the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.
During a hearing Friday in Cabell Circuit Court before Judge Dan O'Hanlon, Mayo and attorney Mike Woelfel agreed to the three-game suspension that resulted from making contact with a refereer during a Jan. 26 game against Capital High School.
During that game, Mayo was given two technical fouls, which means ejection from the game and, in West Virginia, a suspension equal to 10 percent of a team's schedule -- typically two games.
On Feb. 1, Mayo also received a suspension from the school for poor representation. That 14-day suspension had Mayo to missing three games. A fourth game would have been included, but snow caused that game to be postponed.
Mayo, one of the top-ranked high school basketball players in the nation, said Friday he is glad the case has been settled and he understand he must serve some sentence.
"Rules are rules," Mayo said. "I'm glad it's over, ready to move on."
Under the suspension, Mayo can attend class, practice with the team and sit on the team bench. But he cannot dress for the games.
Mayo will miss games with George Washington High School, Parkersburg High School and Scott County from Kentucky, which is the only team this season to defeat the Highlanders.
Mayo now will play in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship Feb. 19 and in a game against St. Patrick, N.J. (18-1), the No. 1 team in USA Today's national boys high school poll. Huntington (16-1) is ranked sixth.
Five other Huntington High players also were suspended during the Capital game because they left the bench. Brandon Hutchison, C.J. Crawford, Michael Morton, Colin Oakley and Lambros Svingos also filed a civil suit, and they are appealing their suspensions. A date has yet to be set for their hearing.
In the Jan. 26 game after Mayo was called for two technicals, referee Mike Lazo fell after he and Mayo made contact.
Mayo grew up in Huntington and played middle school basketball in Ashland, Ky. He started his high school career at Cincinnati's North College Hill before transferring back to his hometown for his senior year of high school. He has signed a letter-of-intent to play college ball at Southern California.