LSU's AD says Will Wade still coach after HBO documentary airs

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said on Wednesday that basketball coach Will Wade's employment status remains unchanged after an HBO documentary included audio recordings in which Wade talked about making a "strong ass" offer to sign a high-profile recruit.

"We are aware of the documentary first aired on March 31, 2020, on HBO," Woodward said in a statement. "There is no change to Coach Will Wade's employment status at LSU and we will continue to cooperate with all reviews into this matter."

"The Scheme" focused on aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins' role in pay-for-play and bribery schemes that were at the center of the federal government's investigation into college basketball corruption. The documentary included audio of telephone calls that were captured by FBI wiretaps on one of Dawkins' cellphones; the audio remains under court seal and hadn't previously been released publicly.

The documentary included audio of a lengthy telephone call between Wade and Dawkins, in which Wade discussed a "strong ass" offer he said he made to land guard Javonte Smart, who signed with LSU.

ESPN and Yahoo Sports previously reported about the contents of the call.

Wade, who was suspended and then reinstated after those reports in 2019, denied doing business for players with Dawkins.

"I think the only way you can interpret someone in a head-coaching position saying that they made a strong-ass offer, they ain't talking about a scholarship offer, bro," Dawkins said in the film. "One hundred percent talking about money."

In the film, Dawkins even applauded Wade for avoiding criminal charges and keeping his job.

"Just the audacity. You've got to take your hat off to him, man," Dawkins said. "He not only didn't get charged for anything, not only did the government have all of this information and evidence and nothing was happening on a criminal level, he also basically just said f--- you to the NCAA and the university he worked for ... and he still got to keep his job and make millions of dollars. It's like the perfect storm.

"Will Wade is definitely a f---ing gangster for what he did."

In response to an open records request from ESPN, LSU officials said in February that the university had not received a notice of inquiry or notice of allegations from the NCAA. Sources previously told ESPN that LSU was among a handful of schools being investigated for potential rules violations in their basketball programs.

As part of Wade's reinstatement, he agreed to an amended contract that included a new stipulation that allows the university to fire him with cause if he's found to have committed Level I or Level II violations. Under the terms of the amended contract, Wade agreed to forfeit a $250,000 performance bonus for the 2018-19 season. He also agreed not to sue the university if he's fired with cause.