The more we hear about the capital murder case involving former Alabama men’s basketball player Darius Miles, the worse it gets for the Crimson Tide. The more coach Nate Oats speaks, the more dishonest and dismissive he sounds. The more information is made public, the more it’s clear that the school didn’t give a full accounting of a tragic situation.

This was the new information from a hearing Tuesday pertaining to a fatal shooting on Jan. 15, according to Police testified that Miles’s teammate, freshman Brandon Miller—one of the five best players in college basketball—delivered the murder weapon to Miles at Miles’s request. Miles then told his friend, alleged trigger man Michael Davis, where the gun was located.

Davis and Miles are charged with murder in the killing of Jamea Jonae Harris, who was in a car with her boyfriend, Cedric Johnson, in downtown Tuscaloosa. Davis allegedly started shooting after a verbal confrontation, and Johnson returned fire. says police also testified that Miller’s car and that of another teammate, Jaden Bradley, were blocking the road where the victim’s car was parked, and that Miller’s car was struck by two bullets. Whether those cars were intentionally blocking the road before shots were fired is unclear.

Miller has not been charged. When asked why not, Tuscaloosa deputy district attorney Paula Whitley told, “That’s not a question I can answer. There’s nothing we can charge him with.”

Oats took the exoneration of Miller several steps further, declaring that his involvement was nothing more than being in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.” That statement is an insult to everyone’s intelligence, if indeed Oats understood what had been said Tuesday in court. It’s a gross mischaracterization of a tragic situation that Miller materially helped escalate by allegedly delivering the murder weapon to the scene of the crime. Quite frankly, with Davis allegedly firing eight shots and Johnson returning fire near a busy campus bar area, it's extremely fortunate that this didn't turn into a mass murder.

“Wrong place at the wrong time” would be walking out of a bar unwittingly into the crossfire of the shooting. That’s not what this is. Responding to a text asking for a weapon by bringing it to a teammate is wrong act at the wrong time—a criminally wrong act, some prosecutors (other than Whitley) might contend.

“Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice,” Oats also said Tuesday. “Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case.”

College coaches famously do their best to control (or at least be aware of) almost every aspect of their players’ lives outside of practice. Coaches want to know what they eat, so they feed them at the facility or at a training table. They want to know what classes they take, and often require that they build their academic schedule around the practice schedule. They want to know who they hang out with, and where, and when, and why.

Until something goes very wrong. Then, shrugs. Can’t control everything. Let the star player play.

Miller has been a key piece of Oats’s Crimson Tide, who sit at 23–4.

Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports

Is there a chance Alabama didn’t know until Tuesday’s testimony that Miller delivered the gun to Miles and Davis? I suppose so. But that would seem like an important detail to not have had passed along by cops, lawyers or anyone else intimately familiar with the case. It certainly seems like someone might have—should have, would have—told Oats that this very serious situation extended beyond just Miles.

After all, the school did know (and never disclosed) that Miller was present at the time of the murder. It did know (and never disclosed) that there were bullet holes in his windshield from the shootout. It did know (and never disclosed) that he was questioned at length by police. Alabama knew a lot more than it disclosed, and none of it moved the school to alter Miller’s very important playing status with a national championship contender.

With Alabama in damage-control mode, Oats issued a statement at 7:24 p.m. ET Tuesday: “I thought it was important for me to clarify the unfortunate remarks I made earlier. This entire time I’ve tried to be thoughtful in my words relative to this tragic incident, and my statements came across poorly.

“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. 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.”

Accepting a “no charges filed, witness only,” response from the cops—a literal Get Out Of Jail Free card—and continuing to play Miller was the path the Crimson Tide chose to walk. Now that path is twisted in a new, darker direction.

At bare minimum, Alabama fully understood that Miller was uncomfortably close to a terrible incident. Given that proximity, the University of Alabama would theoretically want to be fully informed by the local police department—with which it works on countless events and issues every year—about whether the school’s most talented basketball player in years did anything wrong. Leave no stone unturned, and all that.

But the Tide kept rolling after the events in the wee hours of Jan. 15—offering some thoughts and prayers to the deceased, and Oats rather weirdly calling former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for advice on handling an inconvenient violent death. Bama then loaded up the full team (minus Miles) for a game at Vanderbilt on the 17th and then on to Missouri on the 21st, and on through the schedule.

The victories have kept piling up, 23 of them in 27 games, with mega-talented Alabama poised for a program first: a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Tide has never been to the Final Four, much less won it all. This might be its best-ever chance to end one or both of those droughts.

To do so, Brandon Miller’s presence is vital. There is no sign that the school wants to do anything to jeopardize that presence. Even if the star player was involved in delivering a murder weapon last month.