LSU fans showed their dislike for athletic director Joe Alleva during the Tigers’ 80–59 victory over Vanderbilt at Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Saturday night.
Fans booed Alleva when he entered the arena and some screaming "F--- Alleva!" during the night. Many people brought signs to show their support for suspended head coach Will Wade or benched guard Javonte Smart. Before tipoff, fans chanted "Free Will Wade!"
The university suspended Wade indefinitely on Friday amid a recruiting scandal related to the NCAA college basketball corruption trials. Alleva and LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander announced Wade's suspension in a statement.
Wade later provided a statement to NOLA.com regarding his suspension, asking "everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete."
Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday that Wade discussed a recruiting deal with former Adidas consultant Christian Dawkins in 2017. Dawkins is one of three men who were sentenced to prison on Tuesday for their involvement in the corruption scandal.
Smart was pulled from LSU's lineup on Saturday because he was reportedly at the center of the 2017 call between Wade and Dawkins. Wade talked about an "offer" made to a player and his family. The coach only referred to the situation as "this Smart thing," during his conversation with Dawkins but suggested that a player's verbal commitment had been delayed because a third party wasn't offered a big "enough piece of the pie in the deal."
Despite the distractions heading into the game, LSU beat Vanderbilt to win the SEC regular-season championship. Smart participated in the postgame celebration and helped cut down the net.
The Tigers will next play in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Friday, March 15 at 1 p.m. ET. They will face the winner of Thursday's Game 3 (Florida vs. Arkansas).