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Oklahoma football: OU asks state Supreme Court to uphold Frank Shannon suspension

The University of Oklahoma suspended its leading tackler June 18 after a Title IX investigation into an alleged sexual assault. With a district court blocking OU’s attempts to enforce that suspension, the university on Monday took its case to the state Supreme Court.
by Jason Kersey Published: August 11, 2014


photo - Oklahoma's Frank Shannon (20) tries to get past Texas Tech's Eric Stephens Jr. (24) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas Tech University at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Oklahoma won 41-20. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Frank Shannon (20) tries to get past Texas Tech's Eric Stephens Jr. (24) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas Tech University at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Oklahoma won 41-20. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

On Aug. 2, Shannon sat with other Oklahoma linebackers and signed autographs for children ages 14 and under during Meet the Sooners Day.

Shannon wasn’t present during a portion of practice open to reporters last Tuesday morning. Head coach Bob Stoops, through a spokesman, said Shannon had “the flu.”

Shannon returned to practice two days later, though, and has continued working out with the team since.

According to the Supreme Court petition, the district court offered an expedited hearing that was scheduled for Monday but was “stricken” due to “Shannon’s counsel’s unavailability.”

That hearing was postponed until Aug. 21 — nine days before Oklahoma opens its 2014 football season against Louisiana Tech.

OU is asking the state’s high court to intervene, saying that because fall semester classes begin next Monday, time is of the essence.

The university cited three reasons that the district judge shouldn’t be able to stop Shannon’s suspension.

The first is that Shannon’s appeal is based on Oklahoma’s Administrative Procedures Act, which was amended by the state legislature 13 days before his suspension to exclude OU and all public universities from its purview.

The second is that the district court’s stay “was an unconstitutional invasion of the University’s powers” to self-govern, and the third is that Shannon wasn’t expelled; he was suspended, meaning it doesn’t fall under the district court’s purview.

The petition goes on to state that “despite the express directive of the Suspension Order,” the athletics department has been required to publish programs and other materials identifying Shannon as a football player for the upcoming season, and provide him a scholarship “to the exclusion of other eligible students.”

Shannon, a Dallas native, was Oklahoma’s leading tackler on last year’s Sugar Bowl championship team.

Throughout his career, the junior has made 25 appearances and started 15 games, recording 132 tackles, four sacks, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and one interception.