By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bluefield High School’s Lykel Collier will be on the basketball court for the defending state champions when the team begins practice for the upcoming season.
Collier was ruled ineligible by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission earlier this month as a result of his repeating the eighth grade at the request of his parents for non-athletic reasons. The most recent ruling allows the BHS senior to play and as a result the Beavers’ return their entire starting lineup from last year’s Class AA state championship team.
Attorney Brian Cochran of Brewster, Morhous and Cameron represented Collier and issued the following statement: “We are pleased that the West Virginia SSAC has reviewed the facts of Lykel’s situation and determined him to be eligible to play basketball in his senior season this year. It is the correct decision and they should be commended for their thorough review of the facts and the law regarding Lykel’s individual circumstanes. The representatives of our Mercer County school system, from the top down, have also shown a tremendous amount of integrity and class throughout this process.
“It has been a great pleasure to represent Lykel and get to know him over the last several months. He is a very polite, humble and well-mannered young man and we wish him the best.”
Mike Collins is principal at Bluefield High School and he expressed pleasure that the WVSSAC took another look at the case and handed down a different decision.
“There was a new interpretation of the rule, giving Mr. (Gary) Ray at the SSAC and Dr. (Deborah) Akers (Mercer County Schools Superintendent) the opportunity to make a new ruling, making Lykel eligible,” Collins said. “Lykel is such a good student athlete and I’m just glad he is having an opportunity to play his senior year. We’re glad to put this to rest. We hope to move along and that he will join his teammates and have a good season, we hope.”
Beavers head basketball coach Buster Large is glad to have back his starting point guard, who will be a four-year starter and is a two-time all-state selection. Large expressed thanks to Cochran for his representation and the administration at Bluefield High School and the Mercer County school system for their efforts.
“We are extremely happy about this decision. It’s a new interpretation and we’re happy to have Lykel back and have him playing for us this year,” Large said.
“We’re so happy to have Lykel back. All the players are happy to know he’s going to be playing for us.”
The Beavers begin basketball practice on Nov. 18 and open the regular season on Dec. 12, hosting Princeton at the Brushfork Armory.
— Contact Bob Redd at