Terrence Shannon Jr. suspended: Latest news, updates as Illinois basketball star faces sexual assault charge

Illinois announced Thursday that it has “immediately suspended” basketball standout Terrence Shannon Jr. following a serious criminal charge from an incident that allegedly occurred in September.

The news was a shock to the Big Ten. Shannon has continued to play for the 11th-ranked Illini since the alleged incident occured in September, emerging as Illinois’ best player on a team with hopes of a deep NCAA Tournament run later in the season, with the Illini 9-2 through 11 games.

Here’s what to know about Shannon’s charge and how Illinois is handling the matter.

Terrence Shannon Jr. arrest news

Illinois revealed in a press release that an arrest warrant on a sexual assault charge was issued for Shannon in Douglas County, Kansas on Wednesday. Shannon turned himself into authorities in Lawrence, Kansas on Thursday, posted bail, and is traveling back to Champaign, Ill. 

“Shannon is charged with rape, as defined under applicable Kansas law,” the release states, adding that the incident occurred on Sept. 8 when Shannon was in Lawrence for an Illinois football game against Kansas. Illinois said Shannon’s trip to Lawrence was personal and not part of any school-related travel.

Illinois said the school has been aware of the investigation since late September but “had yet to receive actionable information” before Wednesday’s charge. 

“Shannon has been immediately suspended from all team activities. Any change to Shannon’s status will be communicated in a timely manner,” the statement continues.

The school notes that it respects “due process and the presumption of innocence afford through the legal system,” but no timeline for any resolution regarding Shannon’s status was revealed. 

Thursday evening, Shannon’s attorney, Mark P. Sutter, issued a statement claiming the Illinois star is innocent of rape charges.

“Since September, when these allegations surfaced, Terrence has cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation, declaring his innocence from the beginning. Several months later, my office learned that formal charges were filed against him yesterday 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 attorney wrote, according to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman.

Shannon has appeared in 125 games in his five seasons between Texas Tech and Illinois, starting 95 of them. He earned All-Big 12 honors in 2020-21 and was an All-Big Ten selection in his first season with Illinois, averaging 17.2 points per game. Shannon is Illinois’ only player averaging more than 12 points per game this season.

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