The decision to allow Brandon Miller, and by extension Jaden Bradley, to remain a part of the Alabama men’s basketball team was made “collectively,” Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne said on a podcast recorded and released Wednesday afternoon.
Alabama officials knew Miller and Bradley were outside the Tuscaloosa strip the night of Jan. 15, when then-teammate Darius Miles was involved in a shooting along with 20-year-old Michael Davis, killing a young woman. Alabama brass, including president Stuart Bell, came together to evaluate the status of Miller, its star freshman.
“It was ongoing from the get-go when the incident happened,” Bryne said via the ESPN College Gameday podcast, hosted by Rece Davis and Pete Thamel. “It was conversation between myself, Nate Oats, conversation with myself and the president. We have legal counsel involved for the university. We have our different offices within the university that are at least aware of it. We had normal conversations like we do for other issues. That information was shared collectively and collectively we decided that Brandon was able to play.”
Byrne explained over a 15-minute appearance that the university learned new facts about the case when the trial resumed on Tuesday. (Both Miles and Davis were denied bond in the killing of Jamea Jonae Harris.) The fact that both Miller and Bradley were cooperating with investigators and were not ruled suspects, Byrne told ESPN, were key pieces of information they received the morning after.
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UA has a policy prohibiting “the possession, transportation, and use of firearms and other dangerous weapons on campus at any time.” While Miles texted Miller to bring him his gun, per authorities, Byrne said he recently learned of Miller’s attorney’s claims which stated Miller didn’t know the “context” surrounding the event and Miller was already on his way to pick up Bradley.
Alabama’s legal team has affirmed the facts it heard from Miller and his representatives with the police, Byrne said. The university released a statement shortly after Byrne’s appearance on the show stating Miller would remain an “active member of the team.” Miller hasn’t missed any of the Tide’s 10 games since the shooting — becoming the fastest freshman in team history to reach 500 points.
Byrne told ESPN while he is aware that some may assume preferential treatment in handling Miller’s case, it would require new information to change Miller’s status with the program.
“Rece, I think that’s a fair narrative that people can immediately go to and what I have tried to think about the entire time is, ‘Let’s do what we think is right. Let’s make sure we are honest. Let’s make sure we cooperate and we support law enforcement and anyone else out there that needs to be supported through this.’ You can control what you can control. I can’t control whether somebody immediately goes to that as their thought on this. What I felt is that Brandon needed to be treated fairly like any other student-athlete,” Byrne said.
Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at NAlvarez@al.com.
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