LSU suspends head men's basketball coach Will Wade

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU has suspended coach Will Wade indefinitely amid reports about his conversations with a person convicted last year of funneling money to the families of basketball recruits.

LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva said in a joint statement Friday that assistant Tony Benford will assume interim head coaching duties until LSU can ensure that Wade's recruiting tactics have been in full compliance with NCAA and university policies.

Tenth-ranked LSU is in the midst of one of the more successful seasons in program history and can guarantee at least a share of the SEC regular season title with a victory Saturday over Vanderbilt.

A Yahoo report on Thursday included excerpts of a wire-tapped phone conversation with Christian Dawkins, who is one of several people convicted in October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of recruits to Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State. Dawkins also is a defendant in a federal bribery case scheduled for trial scheduled for April 22.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on the suspension of LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade:

“I support the action of LSU in its suspension of head men’s basketball coach Will Wade. The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true. 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.”