Will Wade Requests to Resume LSU Coaching Duties Amid Recruiting Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

BATON ROUGE , LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 26:  Head coach Will Wade of the LSU Tigers reacts to a play during a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Pete Maravich Assembly Center on February 26, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

LSU Tigers head basketball coach Will Wade released a statement Thursday requesting to return from administrative leave amid allegations he was involved in offering money for a recruit in 2017.

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated provided the comments from Wade, who noted he's informed school president F. King Alexander, athletic director Joe Alleva and the LSU Board of Supervisors of his desire to resume his coaching duties:

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

#LSU coach Will Wade releases statement to @SInow https://t.co/vWrKPM9mQ9

Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde, Pete Thamel and Dan Wetzel reported March 7 that Wade was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a "strong-ass offer" made for Tigers freshman guard Javonte Smart, then a 4-star prospect, with business manager Christian Dawkins in 2017.

"I was thinking last night on this Smart thing," Wade told Dawkins. "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."

The LSU coach made reference to an unnamed third party involved in discussions and said the offer's structure was likely holding up the situation, according to the Yahoo Sports report.

"The problem was, I know why he didn't take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit," Wade said. "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."

Wade previously denied doing any business with Dawkins, who received a six-month prison sentence in the large-scale corruption case in early March.

Smart has been kept out of the Tigers' lineup while the school investigated the allegations, but he did make the trip to the SEC tournament with his teammates as he awaited potential clearance.

Javonte Smart @JavonteSmart

I all I ever did was wanna hoop ... my fam counting on me ❤️only god knows ✊🏽ripmydaddy

Assistant Tony Benford has coached LSU on an interim basis during Wade's absence.

LSU, the top seed in the SEC tournament and the ninth-ranked team in the country, will play either the Florida Gators or Arkansas Razorbacks in Friday's quarterfinals.