School Drops Investigation Into Star Basketball Player Charged With Rape, Citing Lack Of Evidence
Terrence Shannon Jr. #0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini handles the ball against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center on December 02, 2022 in College Park, Maryland.
G Fiume/Getty Images

A star basketball player at the University of Illinois was suspended after a woman accused him of sexual assault, but the school has now dropped its own investigation into the athlete.

Terrence Shannon Jr. was suspended from the Illinois basketball team after he was charged with rape in Kansas, the Associated Press reported earlier this year. Shannon successfully lobbied a U.S. District Court judge to overturn the suspension and allow him to start playing again, and now the university has ended its attempt to discipline the athlete, citing a lack of evidence.

Shannon was charged with rape on December 5 by prosecutors in Douglas County, Kansas, after a woman claimed that he put his hands under her skirt and violated her. The alleged incident occurred on September 9, 2023, while Shannon and a teammate were at a bar after attending Illinois’ football game against Kansas. The woman claimed Shannon – whom she identified after searching the school’s online basketball team roster – called her over and then grabbed her buttocks before reaching under her skirt to touch her sexually, the AP reported.

A graduate assistant for the basketball team assigned to drive Shannon and his teammate to Kansas and chaperone them said he was near Shannon the entire night in question and never saw anything the woman described in her allegations, the AP report noted.

After the charges were filed, the University of Illinois suspended Shannon from the team, and he missed six games. Judge Colleen Lawless ruled on January 19 that the university had violated Shannon’s civil rights and deprived him of his “protected property interests” by suspending him without due process. She noted that Shannon was supporting several family members and his suspension jeopardized his chances of being one of the first players to be drafted by the NBA and to make money through endorsements allowed by the NCAA’s name, image, and likeness policy.

“Plaintiff’s participation in sports is vital to the development of his career as well as his current and future economic opportunities considering plaintiff’s intention to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft,” Lawless wrote in her ruling, the AP reported. “Prior to his suspension, plaintiff was projected to be a lottery pick in the NBA. His participation in future games impact his prospects in the draft and his earning potential.”

On April 5, Illinois sent a memo to Shannon, his accuser, and university officials stating that it would not follow through on disciplinary proceedings against the star player.

“… a determination was made that the evidence available to [the Office for Student Conflict Resolution] at this time is not sufficient to allow a reasonable hearing panel to find [Shannon] in violation of the Student Code sections identified in the allegation notice,” the school’s director of its Office for Student Conflict Resolution wrote. “For example, access to the complainant, the complainant’s witness and the complete Lawrence Police Department file was not available to the investigator.”


“The complainant has not indicated an intent to participate in a hearing before a hearing panel at this time,” the school administrator continued. “As a result, the process has concluded, charges have been dropped, and no disciplinary action will be taken against [Shannon] at this time.”

The school did, however, say that it may bring disciplinary proceedings against Shannon should “new substantial evidence” come to light.

Shannon still faces charges in Kansas. His attorney gave a statement to ABC 7 in December saying Shannon is innocent.

“Since September, when these allegations surfaced, Terrence has cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation, declaring his innocence from the beginning,” the attorney said. “Now, several months later, my office learned that formal charges were filed against him [in December] in Lawrence, KS. In less than 24 hours, my client responded, and he voluntarily surrendered to local authorities for processing and release. Terrence is innocent of these charges, and he intends to take his case to trial.”

Shannon’s team was ranked 14th in the nation and second in the Big Ten conference, with Shannon averaging 21.7 points per game, according to the AP.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  School Drops Investigation Into Star Basketball Player Charged With Rape, Citing Lack Of Evidence