NCAA sends allegations notice to LSU regarding major violations
March 9, 2022
On Tuesday, NCAA sent a notice of allegations regarding the men's basketball program at LSU. The allegations are believed to have been triggered by the FBI's wiretap of Will Wade, who reportedly tried to recruit Javonte Smart with a "strong-ass offer."
Although the school athletic officials did not confirm receipt of the NOA. The NOA was ordered by the Complex Case Unit of the Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP), which acts as an intermediary for more complex NCAA investigations. According to a contract amendment Wade agreed to in April 2019, he could be terminated if he is charged with significant violations.
Under the terms of the notice, the LSU head coach could be dismissed from the program. However, the school would need to wait for the case's outcome to resolve itself.
The allegations against the program stemmed from an investigation conducted on the football team. During the 2020 season, the school self-imposed a ban on participating in a bowl game after it discovered several violations. One of these involved the father of a player receiving $180,000 from a booster.
Wade's 'strong-ass offer'
In 2017, FBI wiretaps caught Wade and agent Christian Dawkins discussing an offer to lure Smart, who would later play for the school. Dawkins is serving a prison sentence in Alabama for bribery and conspiracy charges. Other individuals associated with the incident have also been convicted.
Wade clearly stated that he made a big offer to Smart on the wiretap.
"I went to him with a f-- strong-ass offer about a month ago. F-- strong. But the problem was, I know why he didn't take it now, because it was it was f-- tilted toward the family a little bit. But I mean, it was a f-- hell of a f-- offer. Hell of an offer," LSU men's basketball coach said. "Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid. I've made deals for a lot of players who are as good as him that were f-- a lot simpler than this."
During a televised interview, Dawkins noted that the majority of the discussion about the offer was about money, not scholarship. This suggests that the school failed to monitor or institutional control the program.
"They ain't talking about a scholarship offer, bro. One-hundred percent talking about money," the aspiring basketball agent said.
The school has a couple of weeks to respond to the charges. It can then file its own response and hold a hearing with the NCAA. However, the extensive hearing would not change the ruling as the IARP does not accept an appeal.
IARP solves North Carolina State's case
The NCAA's Independent Accountability Panel has already resolved one of the six cases it handled. That case involved North Carolina State. The school men's basketball program, which was also implicated in the FBI's investigation, did not receive a postseason ban despite having several Level 1 violations.
Before the scandal, Mark Gottfried, who was the head coach, was handed a one-year show-cause penalty. Orlando Early, his former assistant, was also suspended for six years.
The cases involving other schools, such as Arizona, Louisville, and Kansas, are ongoing. The organization has been criticized for its slow and costly process.