LSU has suspended men's basketball coach Will Wade indefinitely, the school announced Friday.
The decision comes a day after reports that FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone calls between Wade and aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins, in which Wade expressed frustration about his inability to close what he described as a "strong-ass offer" for a recruit.
"Recent media reports regarding Coach Will Wade are without question concerning to us all," read a statement from LSU president/chancellor F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva. "As such, we and university officials have taken deliberate and purposeful steps to fairly assess and adequately address the situation. As we have done since media reports first surfaced months ago, we are closely coordinating with the NCAA with every step. They have our full cooperation and we will continue to report to them all facts and information on this matter.
FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone calls between LSU coach Will Wade and aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins, in which Wade expressed frustration about his inability to close an offer for a recruit, sources told ESPN.
"All of us at LSU share the obligation to protect the integrity of this institution, as such we have suspended Head Coach Will Wade indefinitely until such time as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA, as well as institutional policies and standards. Assistant coach Tony Benford will assume the duties of interim coach."
Wade expressed his commitment to LSU's players and coaches in a statement and said more facts are yet to come out.
"I cannot comment at this time on various media reports, except to say that they do not begin to tell the full story," Wade said in the statement. "I understand the University had to take action before all the facts are in, but I would ask everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete."
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement that he supports LSU's suspension of Wade.
"The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true," read the statement. "Considering the existing circumstances, LSU has taken appropriate action today while the investigation continues. The SEC serves in an advisory role with our institutions in NCAA compliance issues and the Conference Office will continue to assist LSU as it moves forward in this matter."
No. 10 LSU is 25-5 and tied for first in the SEC with a 15-2 record. The Tigers host Vanderbilt on Saturday in their regular-season finale.
Yahoo Sports first reported details about the contents of one of the telephone calls on Thursday.
ESPN has independently verified the calls between Dawkins and Wade, which occurred in 2017, when the FBI was monitoring one of Dawkins' cellphones as part of the federal government's clandestine investigation into college basketball corruption.
According to people familiar with the calls, Wade was frustrated with a handler of current LSU guard Javonte Smart, who was then a top-50 recruit from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"I was thinking last night on this Smart thing," Wade told Dawkins during one of the calls. "I'll be honest with you, I'm [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I'm just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.
"Dude," Wade continued during the call, "I went to [the handler] with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.
"The problem was, I know why he didn't take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit. It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn't explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn't get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal."
"It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer," Wade continued. "Hell of an offer. ... Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid."
In a different telephone call with Dawkins, Wade joked that the player would be compensated more than the "rookie minimum."
Wade told Dawkins that he had made deals for "as good of players as him" that were "a lot simpler than this."
ESPN's Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.