LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade has agreed to forfeit as much $250,000 in bonus money and acknowledge he breached his contract with the university because he initially declined to cooperate with its investigation of his alleged possible role in college basketball corruption.
The agreement is part of an amendment to Wade’s contract, subject to a vote by the university’s governing board that is scheduled for Friday. The tentative amendment was provided to USA TODAY Sports by the university on Wednesday in response to requests about the status of Wade’s pay and bonuses during his recent suspension by the university.
In addition to the bonus money he is set to lose, university spokesman Ernie Ballard said that while Wade was suspended, he was not paid the usual portion of the $2.1 million he gets annually for his participation in LSU radio, TV, social media and internet programming.
That means Wade lost at least $175,000 more. According to his contract, Wade was to receive the $2.1 million in 12 equal monthly installments, but if he were suspended indefinitely during an investigation by LSU, another government entity, the NCAA or SEC, he was to receive only his $400,000 base salary, which is also paid in monthly installments.
LSU basketball coach Will Wade (Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
LSU president F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva indefinitely suspended Wade on March 8 after a Yahoo Sports story on March 7 detailed Wade's comments, recorded by the FBI, from June 2017. Wade discussed making an "offer" and a "deal" for Javonte Smart, one of the top recruits in the nation at the time who later signed with LSU.
Wade eventually met with LSU officials and was reinstated April 14.
The proposed new amendment also specifies that Wade can be fired for cause if the NCAA Infractions Committee issues a formal notice of allegations of Level 1 or Level 2 violations of NCAA rules against LSU that involve Wade. Level 1 or Level 2 violations are the most severe.
In addition, Wade agreed that if LSU were to fire him for cause in that circumstance, he would waive all claims that LSU wrongfully terminated him or terminated him without cause. A termination without cause would require the university to pay Wade a buyout.
If Wade is fired for cause, his contract says all forms of compensation will end on the termination date. Wade is working under a contract that is scheduled to pay him $2.5 million annually through June 30, 2023.
The proposed amendment also would expressly give LSU the right to fire Wade without cause if, subject to all appeals, the NCAA finds that Wade committed a Level 1 or Level 2 rules violation, or if Wade is indicted in any federal or state criminal proceeding.
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