LSU men’s basketball clinched the regular season Southeastern Conference title on Saturday, but the team’s head coach wasn’t on the sideline. Instead, Will Wade was serving an indefinite suspension, handed down by LSU president and chancellor F. King Alexander and athletic director on Friday.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the suspension came on the heels of media reports that Wade had been caught on FBI wiretaps with Christian Dawkins discussing paying a recruit. Dawkins was sentence to six months in prison last week for his involvement in college basketball’s corruption scandal.
Wade reportedly made repeated references to an “offer” on the recordings of the calls, including a reference where Wade seemed to express frustration over a third party not getting a big “enough piece of the pie in the deal.” Wade also references “this Smart thing,” which could be a reference to freshman guard Javonte Smart. Smart sat out of Saturday’s game based on what associate AD Robert Munson called “an abundance of caution.”
Assistant coach Tony Benford is now serving as LSU’s interim head coach. Wade’s fate remains unclear, though the Times-Picayune reports Wade’s contract allows the school to suspend him for “an indefinite period during any investigation, another governmental entity, or the NCAA or SEC to determine whether (Wade) has materially violated any laws or Governing Athletics Regulations.”
LSU hasn’t received any penalties as of yet, and will appear in this week’s conference tournament.