Suspended LSU basketball coach Will Wade wants to return to coach the Tigers sooner rather than later.
Wade said he reached out to LSU President F. King Alexander, athletic director Joe Alleva and the LSU Board of Supervisors early Thursday morning, he said in a statement to Amie Just of NOLA.com | The Times Picayune.
Wade has been indefinitely suspended by the University since Friday, March 8 after he declined to meet with University officials concerning a Yahoo! Sports report that found Wade on a FBI wiretap discussing the payment of a recruit.
“In everything that’s been said by Will and his folks in the past week, not once have they denied any wrongdoing,” LSU's general counsel Tom Skinner told Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.
“As a university and employer, we need to hear our employee say, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,’ or explain the circumstances or admit he did do something wrong. We’ve been unable to get to that point. We have no choice, in terms of institutional control, to not suspend someone.”
The ninth-ranked Tigers will opened the SEC Tournament on Friday at 12 p.m.
The full statement:
"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.”