About an hour after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order for Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois’ star basketball player was reinstated to the team.
“We have received the Court’s Order,” UI spokesperson Robin Kaler shared in a statement to The Champaign Room. “Effective immediately, Terrence Shannon Jr. has been reinstated to full status as a University student-athlete and will be eligible for basketball practice and competition. We will continue to review the Court Order and monitor the case.”
Earlier this month, Shannon’s legal team filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The complaint filed Jan. 8 said Shannon “maintains his innocence” and that the university has “served as judge, jury, and executioner” by suspending him indefinitely on Dec. 28, 2023.
Federal judge Colleen Lawless’ decision comes one day after Shannon waived his first appearance in a Douglas Co., Kansas court, after he was charged with rape in December in connection to an incident in September in Lawrence, when Shannon was visiting Kansas for Illinois’ football game against the Jayhawks.
FROM THE OPINION: Shannon v. Board of Trustees of Univ. of Illinois, et al:— Mitch Gilfillan (@mitchgilfillan) January 19, 2024
Judge Lawless: “Given that Plaintiff’s (TSJ) projected draft position fell 17 spots into the second round one week after he was suspended, his continued suspension almost certainly means Plaintiff’s…
In Judge Lawless’ statement, she acknowledged the NBA draft stock of Shannon.
“Given that Plaintiff’s (TSJ) projected draft position fell 17 spots into the second round one week after he was suspended, his continued suspension almost certainly means Plaintiff’s draft position will continue to plummet and increases the likelihood he will not be selected in the June 2024 draft,” Lawless said.
TSJ’s position in and potential to be drafted has been a focal point of the TRO lawsuit.
In his letter to the University of Illinois student-athlete conduct panel, which consists of athletic director Josh Whitman and two others, Shannon emphasized the importance of returning not just to his team but to his possible professional career, saying, “My life as I know it will be ruined.”
“My opportunity to showcase my work ethic, commitment, and talent will be eliminated. So, too, will the opportunity to play this game professionally,” he said. “The harm I will suffer from a summary suspension cannot be reversed.”
Since his suspension, Shannon has fallen to the second rounds or out of the draft altogether in most draft boards, like Bleacher Report’s mock draft from Thursday.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to re-join my teammates and get back to work,” Shannon tweeted Friday afternoon after the judge’s ruling.
The Illinois Fighting Illini sit third in the Big Ten Conference and 14th in the AP Top 25.
With the university’s announcement, Shannon is now eligible to return for No. 14 Illinois on Sunday when the Illini (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten) host Rutgers.