Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats apologized for pushing Missouri forward Aidan Shaw toward his bench during a confrontation between Shaw and Alabama guard Aaron Estrada in the Crimson Tide’s 93-75 win on Tuesday.
Estrada had fouled Missouri’s Anthony Robinson II after a rebound with 7:34 left in the first half. The two players got tangled up, and Shaw stepped up to Estrada as Robinson walked away. Oats then stepped between Estrada and Shaw to separate them and pushed Shaw in the direction of the Missouri bench.
After the game, Oats said he apologized to both Shaw and Missouri coach Dennis Gates.
“I have all the respect in the world for the job [Gates has] done as an assistant and head coach,” Oats said. “No disrespect to him or his program. I apologized to both Coach Gates and Aidan Shaw. Aidan seems like a great kid. It’s an unfortunate situation, but I apologized to both of them.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey publicly reprimanded Oats in a statement Wednesday.
“Nate Oats’ actions were unacceptable and violated the expectations for conduct and sportsmanship as established by the membership of the Southeastern Conference,” Sankey said. “Under no circumstances should a coach make intentional contact with a student-athlete on an opposing team.”
In Gates’ postgame news conference, he confirmed Oats apologized but also questioned why Oats wasn’t assessed a technical foul.
“Nate apologized after the game,” Gates said. “But I just posed the question: If that was players in a huddle with a hand on an opponent, what would take place? It would be an automatic technical foul, right? I thought I saw two referees in the huddle. It wasn’t a technical foul. But that’s the question I would pose. If it was players making hand contact, what would take place?”
There are no specific guidelines for this in the SEC Commissioner’s Regulations for 2023-24, aside from a reference to SEC Bylaw 10.5, which states, “All individuals employed by or associated with a member insulation, including institutional staff members, student-athletes, boosters, and fans, are expected to conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, and good sportsmanship, and shall therefore exhibit respect and courtesy towards opposing student-athletes, coaches, and game officials.”
There were no further incidents in Alabama’s win, after which Oats jogged toward the half-court line at the final buzzer to shake Gates’ hand and speak with him before the rest of his team and staff.
Alabama has now won six games in a row to improve to 12-5 overall and 4-0 in the SEC, while Missouri (8-9, 0-4) has dropped four in a row and seven of its past eight.