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Oklahoma LB Frank Shannon facing one-year suspension, pending appeal

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

Oklahoma could be without its leading returning tackler for all of the 2014 season.

In a statement issued by school president David Boren, the university announced Monday that junior linebacker Frank Shannon has been suspended for one year following an internal Title IX investigation of allegations that he sexually assaulted a female OU student in January.

Via, the statement, in full, reads:

The University of Oklahoma has been asked repeatedly by the media about the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings relating to Frank Shannon. 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. The University is unable to enforce its process at this time. The University has and is taking every legal step possible to move this process forward. 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 was never charged with a crime by the Cleveland County District Attorney after the alleged victim decided that she did not want Shannon prosecuted.

Per the Oklahoman, the Title IX sexual misconduct allegation report from the Shannon incident said that he was accused of sexually assaulting the woman in his bedroom after the two left a party together on Jan. 20. Though no charges were filed, the university is obligated by federal law to conduct an investigation of any sexual harassment claim it is made aware of, under Title IX rules.

The Oklahoman is reporting that the university’s investigative process “concluded on June 18,” which resulted in Shannon’s one-year suspension from football activities and school. Since it was determined that Shannon violated the university’s “Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy,” the OU student conduct office met with him and determined the one year punishment.

Despite that decision being reached, Shannon continued to practice with the team and appeared in the team’s media guide while he appealed the decision.

“The University followed a very stringent process with both sides, and under the Administrative Procedure Act both sides have an ability to appeal any decision reached by the University to a district court,” OU open records officer Michael Purcell told the Oklahoman.

“The University takes very seriously its obligation in cases like this. Under federal law, since this matter is still pending, the University cannot release further information.”

Shannon led the Sooners with 92 total tackles last season and also registered seven tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception.

Additionally at Oklahoma, five-star freshman running back Joe Mixon was seen at the team's scrimmage on Saturday. Mixon is currently not participating in team activities after being involved in an altercation with a 20-year-old female OU student on July 26. The incident is still being investigated by police.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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