LSU has suspended head basketball coach Will Wade indefinitely, the school announced in a statement on Friday.
"All of us at LSU share the obligation to protect the integrity of this institution," LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said in the statement. "As such we have suspended Head Coach Will Wade indefinitely until such team as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA as well as institutional policies and standards."
Wade provided a statement to NOLA.com regarding his suspension on Friday evening.
"I cannot comment at this time on various media reports, except to say that they do not begin to tell the full story," Wade wrote. "I understand the University had to take action before all the facts are in, but I would ask everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete."
Assistant coach Tony Beford will take over as the Tigers' interim coach.
Wade's suspension comes after Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday that he discussed a recruiting deal with former Adidas consultant Christian Dawkins in 2017.
According to the outlet, an FBI-intercepted phone call revealed Wade was upset over third-party involvement in LSU's recruitment of a prospect.
"I was thinking last night on this Smart thing," Wade reportedly told Dawkins, according to Yahoo! Sports. "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 [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated."
Wade spoke with Dawkins three times in June 2017, reports Yahoo! Sports.
The Tigers' head coach never denied any contact with Dawkins but told reporters in 2018, "I have never, ever, done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins."
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey stood behind LSU's action to suspend Wade on Friday.
"I support the action of LSU in its suspension of Will Wade," Sankey said in a statement. "The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true. Considering the existing circumstances, LSU has taken appropriate action today while the investigation continues."
Dawkins was sentenced to six months in prison on Tuesday for his involvement in the NCAA college basketball corruption scandal. Former Adidas executive Jim Gatto received nine months in prison, and former Adidas consultant Merl Code was handed a sixth-month sentencing.
A second trial of the scandal is scheduled to begin on April 22. A representative for Wade was reportedly notified in February that the coach will be subpoenaed for the trial.
LSU currently leads the SEC with a 25–5 record, including a 15–2 mark in SEC play. The Tigers will close the regular season on Saturday when they host Vanderbilt. Tip from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La., is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET.