When Bob Stoops wasn't stirring things up by blasting the SEC, most of the attention the past few weeks around the Oklahoma football team has centered on the status of linebacker Frank Shannon.
Some clarity on Shannon's status was provided by Oklahoma on Monday, as university president David L. Boren said in a statement that Shannon was issued a one-year suspension by the school. However, Boren also said the university "is unable to enforce its process at this time," so the suspension has yet to go into effect.
The discipline stems from the university's investigation into whether Shannon violated its sexual-misconduct policy.
"The University has and is taking every legal step possible to move this process forward," Boren said in the statement. "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 August 18, time is of the essence."
Shannon has the right to appeal Oklahoma's suspension to district court, per The Oklahoman. With Boren revealing that the school is unable to enforce its process at this time, it's possible that the case has already made its way to district court.
Shannon was alleged to have sexually assaulted a female student at his off-campus apartment in January, according to a report obtained by The Oklahoman. Cleveland County district attorney Greg Mashburn declined to prosecute the case and said the alleged victim didn't want to press charges, according to The Oklahoman. A Title IX sexual-misconduct allegation was reported to the school in the matter, which prompted an internal investigation, per The Oklahoman. The linebacker remained a member of the football team through the investigation, even going through most of spring practice.
"The University of Oklahoma has been asked repeatedly by the media about the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings relating to Frank Shannon," Boren said in his Monday statement. "As permitted by Federal privacy laws in matters such as these, the University is allowed to disclose its institutional processes and its final decisions. This process includes the Title IX Office inquiry, a hearing panel comprised of faculty and staff, and an appeal to the chief student affairs officer. This process was completed on June 18th. The final decision of the internal disciplinary process was suspension of the student for one year. Federal privacy law and other legal considerations prohibit me from discussing the case further."
On the field, the loss of Shannon would no doubt be a big blow to the title aspirations of the Sooners' defense, as he was the team's leading tackler last season with 92 stops. Sophomore Jordan Evans figures to slide into the starting middle linebacker spot with more pressure put on veterans Dominique Alexander and Eric Striker.