BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU men’s basketball team is heading to Nashville, Tennessee as the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament Wednesday, still unsure what will happen to star freshman guard Javonte Smart and head coach Will Wade.
The team boarded the bus around 5:30 p.m. for a short drive to the Baton Rouge Metro Airport to catch a flight to Nashville. The team was initially scheduled to leave campus around 3 p.m. but the flight got delayed a few times.
Wade is at the center of an FBI wiretapping investigation and was suspended by LSU athletic director Joe Alleva on Friday, Mar. 8.
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. The letter to LSU President F. King Alexander and Alleva read:
“Further to my conversation with LSU’s counsel, I am writing to confirm that, upon the conclusion of the pending SDNY criminal investigation, Coach Wade will be happy to meet with you and LSU’s Board of Supervisors and to answer any and all questions you may have.”
An LSU spokesman said university officials did not know Wade’s intention until the letter arrived.
“Our understanding is that they declined the meeting when we wouldn’t do it without a representative from NCAA being involved and that we wouldn’t limit scope of questioning,” he said. “His attorney was more than welcome to participate in any meeting with administration and Wade.”
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Smart was held from playing in the team’s SEC championship winning victory over Vanderbilt Saturday due to “lack of clarity provided regarding media reports and reported wiretaps involved head coach Will Wade.”
Interim head coach Tony Benford said he was expecting a decision regarding the two on Tuesday, but no announcements were made.
WAFB’s Jacques Doucet says he’s been told “don’t hold your breath,” regarding whether an update to Smart’s playing status or a decision about the head coach will come down before the team departs Wednesday afternoon.