BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU has cleared freshman Ja’Vonte Smart for today’s game against the University of Florida in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. Smart has fully cooperated and participated in a joint inquiry with LSU and the NCAA resulting from reports of wiretapped conversations purportedly involving Head Coach Will Wade.
Smart was held out of the regular season finale against Vanderbilt out of an abundance of caution in cooperation with the NCAA. Though the inquiry is not closed, after multiple additional interviews, there has been no wrongdoing identified to date. As a result, and because of his full cooperation and transparency in this matter, Smart has been cleared by university officials for play on Friday.
LSU said the difference between head coach Will Wade and Smart is Wade is an employee of the university, Smart is not. Officials added Smart cooperated fully, but Wade has not. And an illegal offer, whether it’s accepted or not, is an NCAA violation.
On Wednesday, LSU head coach Will Wade asked for his suspension to be lifted, saying he hasn’t agreed to any interviews under the direction of his legal counsel. LSU’s board of supervisors said until he agrees to talk to the university, he will remain suspended.
The Tigers face off against the Florida Gators Friday at noon.