Illini Basketball Star Terrence Shannon Jr. Awaits Judge’s Ruling on Suspension Appeal Amid Rape Allegations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A federal judge in Springfield is set to make a prompt decision regarding University of Illinois basketball star Terrence Shannon Junior’s plea to lift his suspension following sexual assault charges.

Judge Colleen Lawless heard arguments from attorneys representing Shannon and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on Friday. After hearing approximately 80 minutes of oral arguments, Lawless stated that she needed to review the relevant case law before issuing her decision.

Shannon’s attorneys declined to comment after the hearing, while the University of Illinois released a statement expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to present their response and awaiting the court’s order.

Shannon, who has been the leading scorer for the Illinois basketball team this season with an average of 21.7 points per game, was suspended by the university on December 27 after being charged with rape or sexual battery by authorities in Douglas County, Kansas. The charges are connected to an alleged incident at a bar in Lawrence, Kansas, in September.

According to Shannon’s attorneys, the university’s coaching staff was aware of the trip to Lawrence and even assigned a university employee to accompany him and assist with driving. They argue that the suspension threatens Shannon’s potential NBA career as his criminal trial in Kansas would not be concluded until after the basketball season.

During the hearing, Shannon’s attorneys contended that the university’s suspension decision was not based on principles of due process and presumption of innocence but solely on the potential harm to the university’s reputation. They also claimed that the university’s decision triggered federal Title IX policies due to Shannon being accompanied on the trip.

On the other hand, attorneys representing UIUC argued that Title IX does not apply to Shannon’s case. They emphasized the university’s responsibility to protect its reputation, particularly when a public figure like Shannon is involved in a criminal case. They also noted that Shannon’s suspension only covers team activities and he still has access to the university’s athletic facilities.

Over 30 people attended the hearing, including reporters and several teammates from the Illinois basketball team. One of Shannon’s teammates, Coleman Hawkins, expressed his unease with the delayed ruling, stating that he was there to show support but felt uncertain due to the lack of a decision.

The outcome of Shannon’s case will have significant implications for his basketball career and the University of Illinois. As proceedings continue, the judge’s ruling will determine whether Shannon can resume playing or if his suspension will remain in effect.

This article was written by an independent author and has been updated to provide additional details and reporting, including contributions from Mae Antar, along with the university’s response following the hearing.