Nothing was settled Wednesday as the attorneys for the University of Oklahoma and OU football player Frank Shannon met with a court referee at the state Supreme Court, who will make a recommendation to the justices regarding the case.
Shannon was suspended from the university for one year June 18 as the result of a campus Title IX Sexual Misconduct proceeding, only to be granted a stay of that ruling by a district court judge.
OU’s attorneys declined to comment, while Shannon’s attorney, Aletia Timmons, offered this brief statement.
“We will keep this confidential as we have striven to do during this entire matter,” Timmons said. “But if we see more press discussion of this matter in the papers or news press by the university, we’re going to ask the court to unseal the record so that my client will be able to vindicate himself in public media like the university has done.”
OU president David L. Boren released a statement last week, describing the process that led to the suspension of Shannon, expected to be one of the team leaders for the Sooners this season.
The district court case was filed under seal, which is why officials said Wednesday’s supreme court hearing was closed to reporters and the public.
OU filed an appeal last week requesting the state Supreme Court assume jurisdiction of the case, while prohibiting a Cleveland County district judge from hindering OU’s suspension of Shannon.
The university was hoping to have this matter settled before the semester started. A district court hearing, scheduled for Aug. 11, was rescheduled to Thursday because Shannon’s counsel had a conflict.
Shannon has practiced with the team during the ongoing legal proceedings.
Timmons wouldn’t say whether Wednesday was a positive or negative, simply stating, “We’re going to continue to fight to vindicate our client’s rights.”
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. Under federal law, the university is required to conduct its own independent Title IX investigation.
OU’s process for investigating 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 officer.
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 on June 18.