NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – LSU will not allow Will Wade to resume his duties as a men's basketball coach unless he speaks to university officials of information according to which he would have been suspended by an FBI conversation.
A statement from the school board was made public Thursday, as Wade reportedly asked to return to the team while the ninth-ranked Tigers prepare for the playoffs.
LSU suspended Wade for an indefinite period last week as a result of reports that FBI eavesdropping may have picked up his phone conversations with a person sentenced last year for channeling money to the police. families of basketball rookies. Thomas Skinner, vice president of legal affairs and general counsel of LSU, said that Wade would remain suspended until he talks about the situation to school officials.
"Coach Will Wade has not yet denied any wrongdoing or publicly," Skinner said in his statement. "Apart from that, the university finds itself in a very difficult position with respect to meeting the requirements of the NCAA, and until coach Wade speaks to the management of the NCAA. At the university, he remains suspended and offers him a permanent offer, as well as his lawyers, to meet with LSU officials. "
Wade told Sports Illustrated Thursday that he had been put off because he had not submitted to an interview with officials from LSU and the NCAA. The coach said he had not spoken to them because the interview would have focused on the same topic as in a pending federal criminal case involving corruption in college basketball.
"My legal counsel has informed the university that it would be totally inappropriate for me, or anyone else, to submit to an interview under these circumstances," Wade told Sports Illustrated.
Wade added that "all I have done is follow the prudent advice of the board to exercise my constitutional rights to due process." Given these facts, I do not think it's appropriate that I am relieved of my duties ".
Tony Benford, assistant coach of Wade staff, was acting head coach. LSU beat Vanderbilt 80-59 on Saturday to grab the South East Conference regular season title in his first match with Benford as an acting coach.
LSU (26-5) is the No. 1 seed of the SEC tournament this week in Nashville. The Tigers will open their tournament Friday against Florida (18-14).
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Author Teresa Walker, a sports writer with Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.