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February 9, 2007

O.J. Mayo given three-game suspension

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - O.J. Mayo, considered by many to be the country's top high school basketball player, will miss three games for his ejection and contact with a referee in a Jan. 26 game, according to an agreement Friday between the Secondary School Activities Commission, Huntington High School and Mayo's attorney.

The two-week suspension, retroactive to Feb. 3, was announced after a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court on an injunction issued last week that postponed sanctions for Mayo's actions in a game against Capital.

"I am happy. There had to be some closure to this," Mayo's attorney, Mike Woelfel, said in a telephone interview.

Woelfel said Mayo will serve the suspension during a home game Saturday against George Washington, on Monday at Parkersburg and next Thursday against Scott County, Ky. The George Washington and Scott County games will be played at Huntington's Veterans Memorial Field House.

The suspension will allow Mayo to play later this month in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship 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.

The SSAC agreed to have an automatic two-game suspension run concurrently with a three-game suspension imposed on Mayo by Huntington principal Greg Webb.

"The suspension could have been a consecutive punishment," Woelfel said.

After referee Mike Lazo called two technical fouls on Mayo at the Charleston Civic Center, Mayo came into contact with him, causing the referee to fall to the floor as he approached the scorer's table, according to Lazo.

Webb wanted Mayo punished because "student-athletes at Huntington are held to a high standard of conduct, and the principal felt that some discipline was in order," Woelfel said.

Webb didn't immediately return a telephone message Friday. Mike Hayden, the SSAC's executive director, was on vacation.

Mayo can attend school, practice and games during the suspension, Woelfel said.

Mayo, one of the nation's top seniors who transferred this season from Cincinnati's North College Hill, signed a letter-of-intent in November to play next season at Southern California.

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