LSU will hold out player at center of Will Wade controversy

LSU will hold out player at center of Will Wade controversy

BATON ROUGE, La. - With the SEC title on the line in a matchup against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, fans showered LSU athletic director Joe Alleva with loud boos and expletive-filled chants at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 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. In a joint statement, Alexander and Alleva said the suspension will continue until LSU can ensure that Wade's recruiting tactics have been in full compliance with NCAA and university policies.

Assistant coach Tony Benford will serve as LSU's head coach likely for the remainder of the season.

Wade's conversation with basketball middleman Christian Dawkins, an aspiring agent who was sentenced to six months in prison earlier this week, took place in 2017.

But if more is coming, including specifics of what an "offer" to Smart or his family looked like or the uncovering of similar conversations about other recruits, things will get messy for Wade.

Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that Wade was recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation discussing with middleman Christian Dawkins about a "hell of an offer" for a then-recruit believed to be LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart.

No. 10 LSU's SEC-clinching regular season finale wasn't the only thing coach Will Wade missed on Saturday.

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In a second phone call, reported by ESPN, Wade referred to compensation above "the rookie minimum" with regard to Smart, apparently referring to the National Basketball Association pay scale. Wade and Arizona head coach Sean Miller have been linked to the case with defense attorneys in the process of filing subpoenas for both coaches, Yahoo Sports reported.

"The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true", read the statement.

Wade was at a public speaking engagement at a south Louisiana casino when the report came out.

Jones, a former Tigers' player and assistant under legendary LSU coach Dale Brown, was sacked two years ago after the Tigers finished 10-21 and last in the SEC at 2-16. But even after becoming the first LSU team to go undefeated in SEC road play thanks to Wednesday's 79-78 overtime victory at Florida, the Tigers are still playing with a chip on their shoulder. Smart, averaging 11.4 points per game this season, was not considered a one-and-done prospect.

The Tigers could for a second time win the league championship within two years of finishing last in conference play.

Sophomore guard Tremont Waters said LSU players are close-knit group that stays together "when people are trying to create havoc around our program".

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