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LSU fired Will Wade for cause after major NCAA violations. Here’s why. | USL

LSU fired men’s basketball coach Will Wade and associate head coach Bill Armstrong for cause Saturday, four days after the university received a detailed 17-page notice of allegations from the NCAA Complex Cases Unit of Independent Liability Resolution Process.

According to the notice of allegations obtained by The Advocate on Saturday through a public records request, there were 11 violations described – seven of which relate solely to men’s basketball. Wade is tied to six of the men’s basketball program’s seven allegations and five of those are Level I violations. Armstrong is charged with one Level I violation and one Level II violation.

Additionally, LSU basketball shares blame with football in an additional Level I allegation that LSU “failed to exercise institutional control and oversight of the conduct and administration of its football and basketball programs- men’s ball” from February 2012 to June 2020.

Wade and Armstrong could receive show cause penalties for their conduct in the violations, as outlined in the NOA. A show cause penalty is the most severe sanction a coach can receive from the NCAA, effectively preventing them from coaching for a time. .

LSU President William F. Tate IV and athletic director Scott Woodward released a statement on Saturday, writing that “Our decision to fire Coach Wade and Coach Armstrong is not an acknowledgment of agreement with any of the allegations. .”

Tate and Woodward added in the statement that after receiving the approval notice earlier this week, those involved in the decision-making process took several days to consider the details outlined in the approval notice. approval to determine their next steps.

“We can no longer subject our university, our athletics department and, more importantly, our student-athletes to this trying and already lengthy process without taking action,” they wrote. “Our responsibility to protect and promote the integrity and well-being of our entire institution and our student-athletes will always be paramount.”

Several attempts to reach Wade were unsuccessful. In interviews with the NCAA CCU, Wade denied all allegations.

Wade and Armstrong were fired after the LSU basketball team landed in Baton Rouge shortly after 12:30 p.m. The coaches had an in-person meeting with Woodward and Tate, per source.

LSU lost Friday in the SEC Tournament to Arkansas, but the Tigers are expected to be a lock to make the NCAA Tournament with their 22-11 record. LSU will still compete if selected.

Assistant coach Kevin Nickelberry will take on interim coaching duties for the playoffs, just like former assistant Tony Benford did when Wade was suspended for 37 days in 2018-19.

Wade was suspended at the end of the 2018-19 season after Yahoo Sports detailed a wiretapped conversation between him and Christian Dawkins, a now convicted middleman. made in recruiting former LSU guard and Baton Rouge native Javonte Smart in 2017.

This specific allegation is described in the Notice of Charge as the first of seven charges against the basketball team and was found to be a Level I violation. In the charge, the CCU wrote in this case that Wade “violated principles of ethical conduct and/or offered impermissible recruiting inducements in the form of cash payments and job offers in order to obtain” an anonymous, thought to be smart, recruit.

Wade, at the time, was not suspended because of the reports, but rather because he and his attorney refused to meet with LSU and NCAA officials about the reports. according to the ANP, which is also a Level I violation.

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During the NCAA’s investigation into several instances of basketball team misconduct, Wade “violated the NCAA’s Principles of Ethical Conduct and failed to cooperate with the investigation” on numerous allegations, including four violations described in the notice of intent and “a number of other allegations” the NCAA was unable to fully substantiate.

Wade, according to the NOA, has been repeatedly asked to produce thousands of records and he has declined, only doing so on August 20, 2021, nearly three years after the NCAA first requested them. hampered” the NCAA’s investigation, even after “several allegations surfaced publicly in the media.”

Additionally, Wade allegedly paid money to an unnamed former fiancée of an LSU athlete in exchange for her silence regarding Wade’s payments to players.

The woman texted Wade on July 25, 2017, saying “I know you’ve been giving money to some of your new recruits as well,” then she went on to say “my trainer I work with has spoken to a few (people) into the basketball world and offered me money to talk. (Please) contact me by the end of the day or I’ll have to accept the offer.” Wade responded by telling her to call him.

Two days later, the woman texted “I need 5 more. … Put it in the same account.” Then the next day, she texted, asking Wade to “send 9” more. “You’ve done your part now, I have to do mine and make sure this doesn’t spill out,” the woman said.

However, payment for “9” appears not to have been made, as the woman texted Wade a few days later asking if he had seen her message. Wade replied, “Yeah, I did. I thought we were done.”

The woman said she needed more money than originally expected. “We’ll be done (with) everything after this,” she said. Wade responded the next day, August 1, 2017, saying “I’m sorry you have the money”. You said we were done after the last transfer I sent, so in my mind we are done.

The texts regarding the payment to the woman, the CCU found, coincided with the hiring of another prospect. The NCAA determined that this was a Level I violation that could result in a cause penalty for Wade.

In another allegation involving Wade, he allegedly made payments of an unknown sum in April 2018 to an anonymous man for his services to act as an ineligible scout for an anonymous player. bank account in the name of Wade’s wife. Wade and his wife, Lauren, supposedly treated it as a joint account. The NCAA determined that this was a Level I violation that could result in a cause penalty for Wade.

The Level I allegation involving Armstrong came after Wade was suspended. Between February and June 2020, Armstrong reportedly offered $300,000 in cash in an effort to entice an unnamed international athlete to commit to LSU. Additionally, Armstrong reportedly promised a car for the athlete’s cousin, a scholarship for a friend, and assistance in obtaining visas for the player and/or his family and other associates in an effort to entice the athlete to engage. According to the ANO, this was done with Wade’s knowledge, and is a Level I violation that could result in a justification penalty for Armstrong.

In addition to the Level I violation regarding Wade’s alleged lack of cooperation and Level I violations for specific rule violations, Wade was also charged with an additional Level I violation because he was found responsible. specific misconduct regarding ineligible benefits to potential players. and/or close to them – which also carries the potential for “head coaching restrictions”.

The Level II allegation includes both Wade and Armstrong, and they allegedly had impermissible in-person contact with the parents of a potential player. Wade and Armstrong went to watch a high school basketball state tournament, which included a game that featured the player in question. After the game, Wade and Armstrong met the family at a restaurant. The reason he s The violation was a Level II violation rather than a lesser category was due to several factors, including the way the meeting was organized and initiated by Wade and Armstrong.For this reason, the proceeding could order a penalty justification for Wade and/or Armstrong.

Although LSU fired Wade, the case will continue. LSU has several weeks to respond to the Notice of Allegations, and once the IARP responds, a hearing will be held to determine penalties. The IARP’s final decision cannot be appealed.

Writer Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.

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