NCAA Finishes With LSU, Slaps Will Wade With 2-Year Show Cause; Football Loses 37 Wins

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The NCAA’s four-year dragnet of the LSU basketball program and former coach Will Wade’s voluminous recruiting violations – with a side look at the football program – is done.

And LSU got off light.

The NCAA slapped Wade – now the head coach at McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. – with a two-year show cause, according to the NCAA. The NCAA also limited him to on-campus recruiting only. The show cause ruling means the off campus recruiting ban will follow him to McNeese for two years. The NCAA also suspended Wade for 10 games.

Wade gets the last laugh, though, as that is not a strong ruling, considering the NCAA hammered him with five of the most serious Level 1 violations in March of 2022 in its Notice of Allegations. Those violations including major recruiting violations. LSU immediately fired him just before the NCAA Tournament, which likely helped LSU’s case. The Tigers lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament under interim coach Kevin Nickelberry.

LSU surprisingly did not receive the dreaded “lack of institutional control” label by the NCAA or a postseason ban. Perhaps because the NCAA continues to dramatically weaken by the day, month and year.

The basketball and football programs at LSU received only three years of probation. LSU had no immediate comment Thursday.

One reason that helped the football program’s cause was the fact that it vacated all 37 wins between 2012-15 under former coach Les Miles. LSU illegally played offensive lineman Vadal Alexander while he was ineligible. LSU boosters had paid Alexander’s father $180,150.

The NCAA’s investigation of Wade at LSU exploded March 7, 2019. broke a story that day about Wade’s comments to agent runner Christian Dawkins from 2017 in Wade’s first months on the job at LSU. Wade left the head coaching job at Virginia Commonwealth to take the LSU job. The NCAA had been investigating Wade’s recruiting at VCU.

LSU’s Will Wade Made A ‘Strong-Ass’ Offer To A Player

Wade said on FBI wiretap that he made “a strong-ass offer” to then Baton Rouge area prep star Javonte Smart’s family. The FBI at the time was in the early stages of a nationwide investigation into college basketball corruption.

Smart soon signed with LSU and played from 2018-21. He helped lead the Tigers to the 2019 SEC title and advances in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and ’21. The FBI later arrested Dawkins. He is serving an 18-month sentence in prison on bribery and conspiracy charges. LSU suspended Wade soon after the story before later reinstating him.

NCAA Investigated LSU Basketball And Football

The NCAA investigated the LSU football program simultaneously mainly about major rules violations nearly a decade ago under Miles.

The football team’s Level I violation involved the booster payments to the family of Alexander. Another lesser violation concerned cash payments to players by former LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. That happened on the field after the Tigers beat Clemson for the national title at the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 13, 2020.

LSU self-imposed penalties in football and gave itself a bowl ban in the 2020 season. It also self-reported Beckham’s actions and other violations.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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