Mayo suspended four games by principal

By Cara Bailey | Feb 1, 2007


HUNTINGTON - Huntington High School basketball star O.J. Mayo was given a two-week suspension Thursday by Principal Greg Webb.

The suspension will start after Friday's game against Scott County, Ky., and will cause Mayo to miss four games.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission announced that because Webb decided to suspend Mayo, there is no need for further action.

In a news release issued by Cabell County Schools, WVSSAC Executive Director Mike Hayden "commended Webb for the actions he had taken and applauded his commitment to enforcing the rules of the WVSSAC."

Mayo and five other members of the Huntington High boys basketball team filed petitions in Cabell Circuit Court against a ruling from the WVSSAC after an altercation during a Jan. 26 game against Capital High School.

Cabell Circuit Court Judge Dan O'Hanlon issued an injunction Tuesday allowing the athletes to could continue to play. He also set hearings for the players on Feb. 9

WVSSAC rules state that the protest of a contest or ejection is not allowed. Paul Farrell Jr., one of the three attorneys representing the players, told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch the players need to have their opinion heard.

"Given the circumstances, these kids deserve an opportunity to be heard before they are denied the chance of a lifetime because of an arbitrary enforcement of a rule they did not intend to violate," Farrell told the paper.

During the Jan. 26 game, Mayo, who has committed to play at the University of Southern California, was given two technical fouls from referee Michael Lazo and ejected from the game. Under WVSSAC regulations, if a player received two technical fouls, which automatically ejects the player from the game, the player is given a suspension equal to 10 percent of a team's schedule, which usually means a two-game suspension.

The suit, filed by Mayo's attorneys Michael Woelfel and Matthew Woelfel, claims Lazo addressed Mayo repeatedly, at one time stating, "Keep running your mouth. You better worry about yourself cause I'm going to throw you out," after Mayo warned his teammates about the team's foul trouble.

In a statement by Lazo, he says he observed Mayo taunting a player, so he gave Mayo a technical foul and a warning, walked to the scorer's table, then turned around to find Mayo taunting the same player again, leading to the second technical and the ejection. During the course of the altercation, Lazo claims Mayo bumped into him, causing him to fall to the ground. That incident is under investigation by the WVSSAC.

Part of the suit filed on Mayo's behalf included a three-page handwritten letter from Huntington Coach Lloyd McGuffin, in which McGuffin states "Lazo tells me that O.J. Mayo better not talk with him tonight because he is not going to put up with him at all."

Also, five other Huntington High players were suspended because they supposedly left the team bench during the altercation. Those players are Brandon Hutchison, C.J. Crawford, Michael Morton, Colin Oakley and Lambros Svingos.

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