LSU suspends coach Will Wade after reports that he talked about an 'offer' he made to a recruit on a wiretap
Wade, under fire for potential nefarious recruiting, will not coach in LSU's game Saturday vs. Vanderbilt.
LSU basketball coach Will Wade has been suspended indefinitely, the university announced Friday after it was reported that Wade was . Dawkins is an ex-middleman in the basketball world who has been found guilty and will serve jail time for his role in the college basketball corruption scandal.
"Recent media reports regarding Coach Will Wade are without question concerning to all of us," LSU President F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. "As such, we and university officials have taken deliberate and purposeful steps to fairly assess and adequately address this situation. As we have done since media reports first surfaced months ago, we are closely coordinating with the NCAA with every step. They have our full cooperation and we will continue to report to them all facts and information on this matter."
Following his suspension, Wade responded with a statement to NOLA.com that read:
"Serving as the Head Basketball Coach at LSU has been the honor of my life. I love this university and all it stands for. From day one, I've been focused on building a winning program made up of excellent coaches and staff and a team of first-rate student athletes.
I cannot comment at this time on various media reports, except to say that they do not begin to tell the full story. I understand the University had to take action before all the facts are in, but I would ask everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete.
To my players and coaches, I support you 100%, and I will be with you in spirit as the season progresses. Your best response to this is to narrow your focus and make sure the last part of the season is the strongest part!"
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey issued a statement of his own in light of the news, offering support of LSU in its action to suspend Wade.
"I support the action of LSU in its suspension of head men's basketball coach Will Wade," Sankey said in a statement. "The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true. Considering the existing circumstances, LSU has taken appropriate action today while the investigation continues. The SEC serves in an advisory role with our institutions in NCAA compliance issues and the Conference Office will continue to assist LSU as it moves forward with this matter."
A report from Yahoo Sports on Thursday revealed that Wade was caught on the wiretap discussing with Dawkins a "Smart thing." It's unclear exactly what he was referencing, but it's believed to be a reference to Javonte Smart, a former top-50 recruit from Baton Rouge who is a freshman with the Tigers.
"I was thinking last night on this Smart thing," Wade reportedly said in a conversation with Dawkins, which was caught on wiretap. "I'll be honest with you, I'm [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I'm just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated."
Wade's conversation with Dawkins over Smart continued as he expressed concern over the offer and how it was tilted.
"Dude," Wade continued to Dawkins, referring to the third party involved in the recruitment. "I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.
"The problem was, I know why he didn't take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit," Wade continued. "It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn't explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn't get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal."
LSU can clinch at least a share of the SEC regular-season title this weekend. The Tigers play Vanderbilt on Saturday in Baton Rouge.
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