While many people were soaking in Tiger Woods’ Masters win or preparing themselves for the final season premier of Game of Thrones, LSU executed an all-time news dump on Sunday night. The school announced it was reinstating men’s basketball coach Will Wade.
Wade was suspended late in the season due to his potential involvement in illegal recruiting. He was reportedly caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a “strong-ass offer” for freshman guard Javonte Smart with basketball middleman Christian Dawkins.
Throughout Wade’s suspension, ESPN’s Dick Vitale had plenty of strong comments on the LSU head coach. He shared his thoughts on Wade’s reinstatement earlier today on ESPN 104.5’s “Off the Bench” with Jordy Culotta.
“(Wade) should have met with them initially, he’s very fortunate,” Vitale said. “Think about this. They could have fired him then and there for insubordination. Forget about the charges with the situation with the wiretap, but the fact that you refuse to meet with the president, refuses to meet with an AD, if they really wanted to play hardball, they could have ended it right there.
“… I don’t think there’s any doubt they had to suspend him. I know you guys don’t agree with me on that — that’s OK. Based on his comments, based on that wiretap, they had no choice. They had no choice whatsoever. They would have been crushed, crucified the university about a lack of integrity and all that, so they had to suspend him. I thought they were very fair, they sat back, eventually gave him the opportunity to come before them and obviously I wasn’t there, you weren’t there, we don’t know what transpired but I guess there’s total denial on his part and unless you can prove there was cash laid out, I guess legally he has an argument and they felt that way and they reinstated him.”
Last night, Vitale also addressed Wade’s situation on social media.
Yes Geau Tigers / looks like the wiretap of Will Wade was not as serious as we all thought / certainly the ones that count were the LSU Prez & AD Joe Alleva & they now state Will is their Man !
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 15, 2019
Wade led LSU to a 25-5 record this season before being suspended. Without him, LSU continued on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament under interim head coach Tony Benford.
The Tigers saw their season end against Michigan State in the semifinals of the East Region.