In the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Alabama should follow the example of New Mexico State and at least suspend its men’s basketball season.
Earlier this week, Alabama star freshman Brandon Miller was named in the investigation into murder allegations against former teammate Darius Miles. Per the Tuscaloosa News, a police investigator testified Miller brought Miles’ gun to the former player the night of a fatal shooting on campus on Jan. 15.
Miller wasn’t charged. Officials told AL.com that he had violated no criminal statute.
Per CNN.com, Miles was charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Jamea Harris. Afterward, Alabama dismissed Miles from the basketball program.
Despite the revelation Tuesday, Miller played Wednesday in No. 2 Alabama’s 78-76 win at South Carolina. Miller had 41 points amid cries about why he was playing the day after his name had surfaced in the investigation.
Per ESPN, neither Miller nor any other Tide players were made available to the media after the game.
Alabama officials released a statement saying the school continues to cooperate with law enforcement and Miller is not a suspect in the case.
It was the latest in statements from Alabama and head coach Nate Oats. Earlier this week, Oats released a statement clarifying his earlier comments in which he downplayed Miles’ alleged involvement and noted that Miller was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects—they were witnesses only,” Oats’ statement read, according to Tuscaloosa News. “Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative. In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”
Miller’s attorney released a statement saying the star didn’t touch the gun and never knew the shooting would happen, according to AL.com.
It’s time for the Alabama administration to hit pause on the basketball program. New Mexico State officials did that earlier this season for its basketball program.
At NMSU, a men’s basketball player’s alleged involvement in a deadly shooting and allegations of hazing led the school to suspend its basketball season. The administration later canceled the program’s season.
It would be a major step for the No. 2 team in the country to suspend its season. At some point, though, a murder investigation, student well-being and simply doing the right thing must prevail.