Domestic violence and sexual assault have become incredibly hot-button topics in the NCAA, and Oklahoma has been front-and-center of the issue with a couple of its players.
Running back Joe Mixon and linebacker Frank Shannon both missed the 2014 season because of off the field transgressions. Mixon was suspended for the entire season and unable to do any team activities, while Shannon wasn’t even enrolled at the school last year.
Mixon and Shannon are back this season, and OU coach Bob Stoops defended their returns and the actions the university took with both players.
“First, let me say there’s no place for it,” said Stoops regarding violence of any kind. “It should never happen. None of it should be tolerated, and it has been disciplined.
“We disciplined in a certain way depending on the circumstances we have, and these guys have had significant penalties. They’ve had a lot of other internal measures to meet and to stand – to right up to, and if all those were met, then they had the opportunity to redeem themselves and hopefully grown from their experience.”
Mixon was a five-star running back for the 2014 class and practiced with the team throughout the spring. Part of his punishment, however, included not being able to participate in the spring game.
Shannon was the team’s leading tackler during the 2013 season and was suspended for an entire school year before returning to the team in late May.
“We also feel that, being an educational institution and the age of these young men, they deserve an opportunity to do that (redeem themselves), and it’s our job to help them,” Stoops said. “But they also know that we have some very high standards for them to meet. And if they’re not met, then they won’t be with us any longer.”