Lawyer: Frank Shannon a 'scapegoat'

The attorney for Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon claims the university has "failed" Shannon, who was suspended for one year by the school in early August.

Shannon's attorney, Aletia Timmons, had stern words about the school's handling of the situation and came to the player's defense during a news conference Friday in Oklahoma City.

"(Shannon) has been painted in a way that is in no way how he is," Timmons said.

"It's my belief that my client, even though there's ample evidence that he should be left alone and this should never have proceeded to the level it did, is being scapegoated so that OU won't have to face any questions about how they run the Title IX program. That has been done without any regard to the truth or falsity, I believe, of the alleged victim's statements."

An Oklahoma spokesman said Friday that the university had no comment on Timmons' statements. Timmons said she felt it was time to speak up because Oklahoma made a public statement on the matter earlier this month.

Shannon led the Sooners with 92 tackles a year ago, but he was not listed on the depth chart released by the program Monday and is not expected to play when the team kicks off its 2014 season against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

No charges were filed against Shannon, but he was suspended after he was found guilty of violating Oklahoma's sexual misconduct policy. The punishment has not yet gone into effect because Shannon has the right to appeal the ruling to a district court, which would be the reason why the university would be unable to enforce its decision at the moment.

According to a Title IX sexual misconduct allegation report obtained in April by The Oklahoman, a female Oklahoma student accused Shannon of sexually assaulting her at an off-campus apartment in January. The Cleveland County district attorney's office declined to prosecute the case, noting the alleged victim didn't want to press charges. But under federal law, the university was obligated to conduct its own internal investigation.

Shannon was not present at the news conference but had previously told his attorney he didn't plan to leave OU because he "didn't want to be branded as a rapist" and plans to "stand on the sideline in silent protest" on Saturday, according to The Oklahoman.

Regardless of what happens in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, more lawsuits could follow.

"I can't tell you if we've talked about it," Timmons said. "I'll just say this is not going to be the end of the fight."

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Evans is expected to replace Shannon in the starting lineup against Louisiana Tech.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.