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Status Of Top Oklahoma LB In Question

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Linebacker Frank Shannon, expected to be one of the defensive leaders on an Oklahoma team picked by many to win the Big 12 this season, may not have a jersey with the Sooners after an internal investigation into sexual assault allegations. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Linebacker Frank Shannon, expected to be one of the defensive leaders on an Oklahoma team picked by many to win the Big 12 this season, may not have a jersey with the Sooners after an internal investigation into sexual assault allegations. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, the team's leading tackler with 92 as a redshirt sophomore last season, will not face criminal charges related to a sexual assault allegation stemming from a January incident, The Oklahoman reported Thursday.

But the Sooners still may move forward without the defensive standout.

A woman alleges that Shannon offered her a ride home on the night of Jan. 20, stopped by his apartment on the way, pulled off her pants and tried to have sex with her. The woman and Shannon give differing accounts of the night in question.

OU is conducting an independent investigation, which is required under Title IX in the case of sexual harassment.

Florida State's handling of the high-profile accusations of Jameis Winston last year also have come under fire this week. Like Shannon, Winston did not facing criminal charges, but FSU dropped its internal investigation when Winston refused to answer questions.

“If a school gets put on notice that there is some sort of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and they are deliberately indifferent to Title IX, then they can be held liable for Title IX violations because of discriminatorily favoring one gender over the other,” said Colorado-based attorney John Clune, who is representing Winston's accuser, according to The Oklahoman.

Oklahoma is a popular early pick to win the Big 12 after knocking off Oklahoma State and Alabama to end last season, especially considering Trevor Knight's surprise performance against the Tide. It's only speculation at this point, but in a video attached to The Oklahoman article, two of the paper's staff members familiar with the situation predicted that Shannon no longer will be a part of the team.

Shannon has not been practicing for what the team called "personal reasons."

It would be a significant loss, as Shannon was expected to be one of the team's leaders on defense.