LSU Men's Basketball Coach Will Wade is pushing to return to the bench amid allegations he offered money to a recruit.
Wade informed LSU officials this morning that he wanted to return to his coaching duties as the Tigers prepare for their first game of the SEC Tournament tomorrow afternoon.
LSU placed the coach on administrative leave following a report earlier this month that he was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a payment to Tigers freshman guard Javonte Smart. School officials say Wade has yet to deny the accusations, meaning he will remain on suspension.
Wade's full statement follows:
"This morning, I advised President Alexander, Athletic Director Joe Alleva and the LSU Board of Supervisors that I would like to resume my duties as Head Basketball Coach. Last week, when the University decided to place me on administrative leave, I accepted the decision without complaint as I knew that they wanted time to reflect on the flurry of media reports. With the benefit of a week to consider the circumstances, I believe University officials should allow me to resume my duties.
"I understand that in today’s hyper-intense media environment it is extremely difficult for any organization, particularly a public university, to stand firm in the face of rumors, leaks and innuendo. In this case, the simple truth is I have been placed on leave because I exercised my right not to submit to a joint LSU/NCAA interview on the exact same subject matter at issue in an impending federal criminal trial in New York. My legal counsel advised the University that it would be wholly inappropriate for me, or anyone, to submit to an interview under these circumstances.
"Declining to be interviewed was a difficult decision for me, as I would like to cooperate fully with all parties, particularly LSU. To be clear, however, all I’ve done is follow the prudent advice of counsel to exercise my constitutional rights to due process. Given these facts, I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to be relieved of my duties. We have a great basketball program made up of excellent student athletes and quality coaches. The players who’ve given their all for this institution, the students and alumni who are devoted to LSU, and fans all across Louisiana and beyond deserve to see this team fulfill its destiny. I love LSU and everything it stands for. What I’m asking for is the right to do my job while exercising my constitutional rights. I don’t think that’s too much to ask."
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