In a shocking development, Terrence Shannon Jr., the standout player for the No. 11 Illinois men’s basketball team, has been charged with rape, leading to his immediate suspension from all team activities, the university announced.
The Douglas County (Kansas) district attorney’s office issued a warrant for Shannon’s arrest over an alleged sexual assault that occurred on September 9. The university clarified that the incident took place while Shannon was in Lawrence to attend the Illinois-Kansas football game and was not part of any official university business.
Shannon, a Chicago native, turned himself in and was arrested in Lawrence, Kansas, on a charge of “rape; sexual intercourse without consent and use of force.” He posted $50,000 bail on Thursday and is returning to Champaign, Illinois.
The university was aware of a Lawrence police investigation involving Shannon since late September but only received actionable information on Wednesday when the arrest warrant was issued. The official complaint outlines severe charges, stating that Shannon faces a minimum of 147 months and a maximum of 653 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $300,000 if convicted.
Athletic director Josh Whitman emphasized the school’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct and stated that due process would be followed based on the nature and severity of the allegations.
This suspension is a significant blow to the Illini, who recently climbed to No. 11 in the AP Top 25. Shannon has been a key player, leading the team with an impressive 21.7 points per game and showcasing his skills with a 40.8% accuracy from beyond the arc. His absence will undoubtedly impact the team’s performance.
Shannon’s attorney, Mark P. Sutter, asserted his client’s innocence, mentioning Shannon’s cooperation with law enforcement since September and the intention to take the case to trial.
This incident adds to the growing scrutiny surrounding athletes and their off-court behavior, raising questions about the handling of such cases within university sports programs.