Saying the University of Oklahoma “failed” Frank Shannon, Shannon's attorney said Friday that the linebacker would continue his fight against a one-year suspension.
“(Shannon) has been painted in a way that is in no way how he is,” Aletia Timmons said in an afternoon press conference at her office.
Timmons said the school was making Shannon a “scapegoat” and that he would “stand on the the sideline in silent protest” in Saturday's game.
Shannon, Oklahoma's leading tackler last season, was not listed on the depth chart released Monday, and Sooners coach Bob Stoops indicated Shannon would not play.
“That situation is still unresolved and therefore I've got to proceed with players I know are going to be available to me through the rest of the year,” Stoops said Monday. “At this point, the depth chart is what it is.”
Timmons said some universities were “going overboard” in Title IX sexual assault investigative mandates.
When Timmons spoke with Shannon early on, the topic of Shannon transferring came up.
“I'm not running,” Shannon told her. “I'm not going to be branded as a rapist.”
Shannon was not present at Timmons' press conference.
OU suspended Shannon on June 18 after a Title IX investigation into an alleged sexual assault. Six days later, Shannon went to Cleveland County District Court and received a stay, allowing him to remain enrolled as a student and continue working out with the team.
The university petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this month to remove the stay, calling the district court's action “an unconstitutional invasion of the University's powers” to self-govern. They also argued Shannon should be able to contest his suspension in court because he wasn't expelled. Oklahoma's Administrative Procedures Act excludes OU and all public universities from its purview except in the case of expulsion.
Shannon was accused of sexually assaulting a female student at his off-campus apartment in January. Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn declined to prosecute the case in criminal court, but under federal law, the university is required to conduct its own independent Title IX investigation with a different burden of proof.
OU's process for investigation allegations of sexual misconduct involves a Title IX inquiry, followed by a hearing panel composed of faculty and staff and a final appeal to the chief student affairs offers.
The university found Shannon guilty of violating the school's sexual misconduct policy through all three of those steps and issued the one-year suspension June 18.
Cleveland County District Judge Tracy Schumacher issued a temporary emergency order June 25 continuing the proceeding until June 30, and then issued a summary order continuing the stay, allowing Shannon to continue his enrollment and participation in football workouts.
As a sophomore, Shannon was the Sooners' leading tackler last season with 92, including seven in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
He was expected to be one of nine returning starters on the defensive side for the Sooners.
After taking first-team reps early in camp, Shannon's role has slipped the last few weeks.
Instead, sophomore Jordan Evans topped the depth chart Monday at Shannon's normal inside linebacker spot, backed up by walk-on Caleb Gastelum.