BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU basketball head coach Will Wade released a statement Thursday morning asking the LSU Board of Supervisors to lift his suspension.
He said he originally accepted the decision by athletic director Joe Alleva and president F. King Alexander to be placed on administrative leave, however, is now asking to resume his position as head coach.
"With the benefit of a week to consider the circumstances, I believe University officials should allow me to resume my duties," Wade said.
Wade said the Board of Supervisors placed him on leave because he did not agree to a joint LSU/NCAA interview regarding the ongoing FBI investigation. He added his legal counsel advised that it would be “wholly inappropriate” to agree to an interview under the circumstances.
"To be clear, however, all I’ve done is follow the prudent advice of counsel to exercise my constitutional rights to due process. Given these facts, I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to be relieved of my duties," Wade said.
Thomas Skinner, vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, also released a statement Thursday morning. It read:
“Coach Will Wade has yet to deny any wrongdoing to us or publicly. Absent that, the university is in a very difficult position with regard to compliance with NCAA requirements, and until Coach Wade talks to university administration about this, he remains suspended. There is a standing offer for him and his attorneys to meet with LSU officials.”
Wade was suspended by LSU athletic director Joe Alleva on Friday, Mar. 8.
- LSU head coach Will Wade suspended indefinitely following Yahoo Sports report
- Fans, students react to news of Will Wade suspension
- No. 10 LSU basketball eyes SEC Title, No. 1 conference seed amid Will Wade controversy
- Tony Benford named LSU basketball interim head coach
- REPORT: FBI records Will Wade recruiting conversation, ‘offer’ discussed
Wade’s attorney, Michael McGovern, sent a letter to the university Tuesday indicating the coach would be happy to meet with LSU officials after the Southern District of New York (SDNY) completes its criminal investigation.
"What I’m asking for is the right to do my job while exercising my constitutional rights. I don’t think that’s too much to ask," he concluded.
Read the full statement below:
- This morning, I advised President Alexander, Athletic Director Joe Alleva and the LSU Board of Supervisors that I would like to resume my duties as Head Basketball Coach. Last week, when the University decided to place me on administrative leave, I accepted the decision without complaint as I knew that they wanted time to reflect on the flurry of media reports. With the benefit of a week to consider the circumstances, I believe University officials should allow me to resume my duties.
- I understand that in today’s hyper-intense media environment it is extremely difficult for any organization, particularly a public university, to stand firm in the face of rumors, leaks and innuendo. In this case, the simple truth is I have been placed on leave because I exercised my right not to submit to a joint LSU/NCAA interview on the exact same subject matter at issue in an impending federal criminal trial in New York. My legal counsel advised the University that it would be wholly inappropriate for me, or anyone, to submit to an interview under these circumstances.
- Declining to be interviewed was a difficult decision for me, as I would like to cooperate fully with all parties, particularly LSU. To be clear, however, all I’ve done is follow the prudent advice of counsel to exercise my constitutional rights to due process. Given these facts, I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to be relieved of my duties. We have a great basketball program made up of excellent student athletes and quality coaches. The players who’ve given their all for this institution, the students and alumni who are devoted to LSU, and fans all across Louisiana and beyond deserve to see this team fulfill its destiny. I love LSU and everything it stands for. What I’m asking for is the right to do my job while exercising my constitutional rights. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
The LSU basketball team left Wednesday en route to Nashville to begin SEC tournament play as the No. 1 seed.