NCAA: LSU's Will Wade behind offers of 'impermissible payments' to potential recruits
BATON ROUGE - LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade has been in hot water with the NCAA, which says he either arranged for or directly offered "impermissible payments" to at least 11 potential recruits and/or related individuals.
ESPN reports obtaining documents that state the allegations against Wade were sent to the NCAA's enforcement staff.
Wade allegedly "arranged for, offered and/or provided impermissible payments, including cash payments, to at least 11 men's basketball prospective student-athletes, their family members, individuals associated with the prospects and/or nonscholastic coaches in exchange for the prospects' enrollment at LSU."
The enforcement staff requested that the claims against Wade be reviewed through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which was created to handle complex cases.
NCAA vice president of enforcement Jonathan Duncan confirmed that the case satisfies at least five of the seven factors for referring the case to the IARP in a July 15 letter.
"Many of those factors are triggered by the actions of Will Wade, head men's basketball coach at Louisiana State University," Duncan wrote. "Some of his underlying actions gave rise to this case and his tactics during the investigation have delayed resolution dramatically. He is employed in a leadership position at LSU, yet the institution has been unable to secure his full cooperation and is accountable for his behavior."
In March, an HBO documentary aired audio recordings in which Wade is heard speaking of making a "strong ass" offer to sign a high-profile recruit. "The Scheme" included audio of a significant telephone call between Wade and Christian Dawkins, a former runner for an NBA agent and aspiring business manager, during which Wade discussed the offer to sign coveted guard Javonte Smart.
Wade was subsequently suspended and then reinstated after those reports in 2019, all the while denying doing business for players with Dawkins.
ESPN reports that after sending LSU an open records request, the university responded in February that it had not received a notice of inquiry or notice of allegations from the NCAA.
Upon his reinstatement, Wade agreed to an updated contract that included a new stipulation allowing the university to fire him with cause if he's found to have committed Level I or Level II violations. Under the terms of the new contract, Wade agreed to forfeit a $250,000 performance bonus for the 2018-19 season. He also agreed not to sue the university if he's fired with cause.
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