Sport

Will Wade, LSU basketball coach, suspended amid FBI wiretap report

LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade has been indefinitely suspended in the wake of a report that he discussed an offer for a recruit with a convicted middleman, the school announced Friday.

LSU president F. King Alexander and athletics director Joe Alleva said in a joint statement that the school has suspended Wade “until such time as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA, as well as institutional policies and standards.”

Assistant coach Tony Benford will serve as the interim coach in Wade’s absence.

“Recent media reports regarding Coach Will Wade are without question concerning to all of us,” Alexander and Alleva said in the statement.

Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that Wade was recorded by the FBI discussing what he called a “hell of an offer” for a recruit with middleman Christian Dawkins, who has been one of the central figures in the FBI’s probe into recruiting practices in college basketball.

According to the report, Wade expressed frustration during a 2017 phone conversation with Dawkins that an unnamed third party was attempting to delay a recruit’s commitment because the deal was “tilted” in favor of the prospect and his family, and the unnamed third party “didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.” 

The player Wade appeared to be referencing was Javonte Smart. The freshman guard is currently averaging 11.5 points per game for LSU.

Dawkins was sentenced to six months in prison earlier this week as a result of the probe, which investigated attempts from agents and shoe companies to direct specific high-profile recruits to certain schools.

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LSU, which is ranked No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports coaches’ poll, is tied with Tennessee for the lead in the SEC regular-season standings with one game left in the regular season. The Tigers will host Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.




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