LSU receives notice of allegations tied to men’s basketball, football programs; Will Wade under scrutiny

LSU has received a notice of allegations related to potential violations in the men’s basketball and football programs, a source told ESPN on Tuesday.

The notice comes from the Complex Case Unit, which is part of the Independent Accountability Resolution Process that’s handling this and other cases for the NCAA. The notice of allegations stem from multiple cases, including LSU’s ties to the federal basketball investigation that became public in 2017.

While details and specifics from the notice aren’t expected to be released until LSU complies with open records requests, a source told ESPN that the allegations related to the basketball program are significant. Sports Illustrated first reported the notice on Tuesday. LSU declined comment on Tuesday night.

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The notice is expected to again put the future of basketball coach Will Wade in the crosshairs. The LSU head coach was suspended from the SEC and NCAA tournaments in March of 2019 after Yahoo Sports reported that Wade was on a wiretap talking about a “strong ass” offer to a recruit. That call eventually got played in an HBO documentary, spliced with included an interview with middleman Christian Dawkins saying Wade was “one-hundred percent talking about money” in the comment.

In the wake of the initial fallout from Wade’s “strong ass” offer, then-LSU athletic director Joe Alleva stepped aside three days after he reinstated Wade as coach in April of 2019.

In NCAA documents obtained by ESPN in August of 2020, there’s allegations in NCAA paperwork that Wade either arranged or offered “impermissible payments” to at least 11 prospects.

Wade’s contract states that the school can fire him without penalty if he’s either found to commit or is essentially charged by the NCAA with a Level 1 or Level 2 violation. The scope of this notice related to basketball allegations is believed to have the potential to test those thresholds.

The basketball portion of this case ties back to the federal basketball investigation, which became public in September of 2017. The case has taken so long, in part, because it got directed to the IARP process, which was invented to help with complex cases. But in reality, it has managed to further slow down an adjudication process that for decades has been criticized as too slow.

LSU has already self-imposed penalties to address potential violations in the football program that are expected to be included in the notice, as the school implemented a bowl ban and scholarship restrictions.

LSU projects as a No. 6 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament and opens the SEC tournament on Thursday afternoon against the winner of Ole Miss and Missouri.