Sexual Misconduct, Violation of Title IX Sidelines OU Starting Linebacker for 1 Year

Source:  GUERIN EMIG/Tulsa World

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma suspended linebacker Frank Shannon for a year as the result of an on-campus Title IX sexual misconduct allegation process that concluded June 18, according to a statement released by OU President David Boren on Monday.

That has not, however, prevented Shannon from taking part in team activities during the Sooners’ preseason camp. He signed autographs at Meet the Sooners Day two weeks ago, and has been practicing with the team throughout camp. He remains enrolled at OU, according to the university’s database.

How is that possible?

“The University is unable to enforce its process at this time,” Boren said in Monday’s release. “The University is currently seeking to enforce its decision so that it may be in compliance with federal law requiring responses by institutions to such matters in a timely manner. With the fall semester beginning Aug. 18 time is of the essence.”

The wording of Boren’s statement — “This process was completed on June 18. The final decision of the internal disciplinary process was suspension of the student one year” — would seem to indicate the case is being appealed off campus, thereby upsetting the university’s authority to enforce the verdict and penalty.

Shannon, OU’s leading tackler a year ago, was alleged to have sexually assaulted a female student on Jan. 20, The Oklahoman first reported the incident in April when the newspaper received a university Title IX allegation report.

Though the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against Shannon — the DA did not have the cooperation of the alleged victim — OU investigated the incident per federal Title IX legislation, which requires that universities investigate such allegations.

Citing federal privacy laws, the university has not released documents related to the process, including an appeal to the chief student affairs officer, sought by media outlets including the Tulsa World.

The World also has sought records of any appeal or injunction filed on behalf of Shannon at the federal and district court levels in Oklahoma, but has discovered there to be no such records.

The Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office did confirm that a judge reserves the right to seal case documents, and even seal record of the case itself, should he or she so chooses.

That conspired to shroud Shannon’s case in mystery — coach Bob Stoops said at the outset of camp he was still with the team, but declined to discuss specifics — until Boren’s statement at least clarified that the university originally ruled against Shannon and levied the suspension, before being unable to enforce the penalties.