LSU Reinstates HC Will Wade After 37 Days Away from Team Amid Wiretap Scandal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 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

The LSU Tigers reinstated Will Wade to his position as head coach of the basketball team on Sunday.

"Coach Wade met Friday with University and NCAA officials," LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement, per NOLA.com's Amie Just. "During those meetings, he answered all questions and denied any wrongdoing in connection with recently reported allegations of irregularities in college basketball recruiting."

On March 8, LSU announced it had suspended Wade indefinitely. The move came after Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde, Pete Thamel and Dan Wetzel reported the FBI had obtained audio of a conversation between Wade and Christian Dawkins in which Wade allegedly addressed the pursuit of a prospective recruit.

A jury last October found Dawkins and two others guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud after the three conspired to funnel money to the families of recruits in order to get the recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools.

According to the Yahoo Sports report, Wade allegedly referenced "this Smart thing" in his conversation with Dawkins. Javonte Smart was the No. 35 player in the 2018 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and signed with the Tigers.

"Dude. I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago," Wade allegedly said to Dawkins, identifying an unknown third party in the recruiting process. "[Expletive] strong. The problem was, I know why he didn't take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit. It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that."

Wade released a statement to NOLA.com in the wake of the report saying, "[The reports] do not begin to tell the full story."

Because of his suspension, Wade missed LSU's regular-season finale and the team's opening-round loss to Florida in the SEC tournament. The Tigers reached the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA tournament without him on the sideline. LSU's 28 wins were its most since 2000.

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