Report: FBI staying in Baton Rouge, continuing investigation on LSU basketball coach Will Wade
Outside of difficulties caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Will Wade coached LSU men’s basketball without incident throughout the 2020 season.
But the Tigers coach remains under investigation by both the FBI and NCAA stemming from a sweeping probe of corruption in college recruiting that engulfed Wade and the program throughout much of his 4-year tenure.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated, citing sources, federal investigators were in Baton Rouge recently in connection the the investigation. The report did not specify when that visit occurred or what it entailed.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette told Sports Illustrated that the school was not aware of any official requests or visit by federal investigators regarding the investigation.
Wade was suspended when the news of the investigation broke during the 2018 season. He was replaced on the sidelines by former assistant Tony Benford throughout postseason play, which ended in a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Wade was reinstated the following April, coaching all 58 games played by LSU since.
The investigation hinged on wiretapped recordings with federally convicted middleman Christian Dawkins, which were later featured in an HBO documentary “The Scheme.” One of those recordings was of a conversation involving a “strong-ass offer” and references to “the Smart thing,” believed to be in reference to Javonte Smart’s ongoing recruitment.
Smart was also held out of the Tigers’ final regular season game that season, but returned for postseason play. The Baton Rouge native remains with the program, finishing his junior season in LSU’s loss to Michigan in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
It is unknown when a report will be made on either investigation’s findings, or what penalties — if any — the program and Wade could face.
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