Suspended LSU coach Will Wade’s attorney has notified university officials that his client won’t sit down to discuss his relationship with convicted middle man Christian Dawkins until after the federal government concludes its investigation into college basketball corruption.
Wade’s unwillingness to discuss what he said to Dawkins in telephone calls that were intercepted by FBI wiretaps likely means he won’t coach in this week’s SEC tournament or any of the No. 9 Tigers’ games in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The Baton Rouge Advocate first reported details about Wade’s attorney’s letter on Wednesday.
LSU officials suspended Wade and named Tony Benford interim coach on Friday after Wade refused to discuss published reports about his involvement in alleged pay-for-play deals.
Thomas Skinner, LSU’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
Last week, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports reported that in one of the phone calls intercepted by FBI wiretaps, Wade expressed frustration about his inability to close what he described as a “strong-ass offer” for a recruit.
According to people familiar with the calls, Wade was frustrated with a handler of current LSU guard Javonte Smart, who was then a top-50 recruit from Baton Rouge.
Smart didn’t play in LSU’s 80-59 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday night, which clinched the Tigers an SEC regular-season title. His status for the postseason remains unclear.
“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade told Dawkins during one of the calls. “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 s—. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”
“Dude,” Wade continued during the call, “I went to [the handler] with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [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. 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.”
“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer. … Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid.”
In a different telephone call with Dawkins, Wade joked that the player would be compensated more than the “rookie minimum.”
Wade told Dawkins that he had made deals for “as good of players as him” that were “a lot simpler than this.”
Steven Haney, Dawkins’ attorney, told ESPN that he plans to subpoena Wade, Arizona’s Sean Miller and possibly other coaches to testify in an April 22 federal criminal trial in New York. Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code are accused of bribing assistant coaches to influence their players to sign with Dawkins’ fledgling sports agency once they turned pro.