All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, rejoice.

I’m up in New York City today for Fox News hits so I’m cranking out the mailbag early this week and I’m headed straight to their studios up here as soon as I click publish.

Yep, your boy is always working.

So let’s go ahead and dive in here with the question that’s getting asked the most, what’s up with LSU and Will Wade?

First, I would love to see a list of what every NCAA tourney team is spending on players in college basketball. If only to see how many college basketball teams which will be high seeds aren’t paying any players at all. Because the teams that aren’t paying deserve some sort of honesty bonus, don’t they?

Also, how much better are the coaches who are winning despite not paying players?

Second, as I’ve been saying since this story first broke, I don’t believe the FBI should have ever gotten involved investigating college athletes being paid and I don’t have a problem with players being compensated.

Third, I don’t think LSU is unique here.

But, and this is key, Will Wade is caught on tape discussing making offers to a basketball recruit, which is a clear NCAA violation.

Just because everyone else is speeding on the Interstate doesn’t mean you get to cite that as exculpatory evidence when you get pulled over for speeding. You still have to pay the ticket and LSU will have to pay for its violations here as well.

Here’s the transcript of that audio according to ESPN and Yahoo, who both have the same quotes:

“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade told Dawkins during one of the calls. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the s—. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.

“Dude,” Wade continued during the call, “I went to [the handler] with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.

“The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now. It was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit. It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”

“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer. … Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid.”

You can read the Yahoo article here and also read the ESPN article here. The ESPN article is interesting because Wade is also said to be recorded on the wiretap saying a player would be compensated more than the “rookie minimum.” Now the rookie minimum in the NBA is over $800k so I’d imagine this is a joke, but it goes to establishing that the offer in question here was money.

This Yahoo article — Yahoo broke the story first — is extraordinary because I can’t ever remember a sitting head coach of a major basketball program being caught on an FBI wiretap making comments like these. That is, evidence of this nature has never existed before.

Generally speaking head coaches insulate themselves from issues like these — it’s why the NCAA expanded its punishments to avoid coaches being able to bury their heads in the sand and claim they never had any knowledge of alleged wrongdoing. Most head coaches aren’t as brazen — or at least haven’t been caught — as Wade was in this conversation.

So does Wade have any defenses here?

Sure, but most of them aren’t good. He can claim he wasn’t making a monetary offer to a recruit since there’s no specific mention of an exact sum of money. But the problem is offering anything more than a scholarship is a NCAA violation and I think it would be hard for Wade to argue this was a normal scholarship offer.

Wade could also argue it isn’t him on the tape, but that’s also a tough case to make because the phone records for this phone could be traced back to him.

Wade could also argue he was lying to the person on the other end of the call about making an offer to a player, but why would he lie?

Especially because, and this is key, Wade has been notified he will be subpoena’d for a criminal trial in April where he’d be questioned under oath about these comments.

Remember, once you start testifying under oath you aren’t just risking your job, you’re risking going to prison if you perjure yourself.

That’s why I think Wade (and Sean Miller who will also be reportedly subpoena’d) might well need to take the fifth amendment on the witness stand rather than answer questions.

Wade could also hope the NCAA doesn’t obtain these FBI transcripts, but if Yahoo and ESPN have them, how could the NCAA not get them as well?

So what does LSU do?

The school doesn’t have great options here.

LSU could refuse to take any action and let Wade coach and Smart play, but this seems very risky given the evidence against him.

Remember, Louisville fired Rick Pitino for evidence that was less significant than this.

I think the most likely outcome is LSU’s suspends Wade while they announce they are conducting their own investigation into these issues and also sits Smart for the remainder of the season.

Here’s my analysis of this case on yesterday’s Outkick the Show.

For the LSU fans reading this right now and blowing up my mentions talking about how Wade has done nothing wrong. I’d just ask you this, if Yahoo had published the same exact story and instead of Will Wade being named it was Nick Saban.

Would you be making the same arguments?

A good way to check your own bias is to ask yourself this question, “How would I react if my most hated rival was accused of doing the exact same thing?”

If your reaction isn’t the exact same that’s a clear example of your own bias.

I don’t think there’s a single LSU fan on the planet who would be Tweeting or emailing me saying there’s not enough proof here to prove Nick Saban violated NCAA rules.

J. writes:

“Big fan and love your take on things. After watching “Leaving Neverland” I don’t know how any rational person can believe Michael Jackson didn’t molest those boys. I base my opinion on two things:
1.) The Safechuck guy looked absolutely broken, I mean he was just wrecked. No way you can fake that, especially given that there is nothing monetary in play for the victims. The other guy seemed to be in a bit better shape, but watching Safechuck was just heart breaking
2.) My own experience. I was sexually abused by a youth minister for 7 years, and the pattern they outlined that Jackson followed was in lock step with what happened to me, minus the theme park and celebrity craziness. Thankfully what happened to me was not nearly as bad as what happened to the guys in the documentary, and I have gotten the help I need and am as well adjusted as you can be after something like that. The thing that most people miss with this stuff is that it doesn’t really hit you how fucked up it is until you are grown, because you literally don’t have the capacity to process it while it is happening. Unfortunately, that’s what makes it so difficult to punish, as the guy that abused me died 10 years ago.
What do you think the fallout from this is going to be? The facts in this case are just mind blowing. Seems like twitter mob was full of people who probably didn’t watch the documentary, and already made their mind up that he was innocent before looking at the facts. I loved Michael Jackson’s music as much as the next guy, but man. Hard to listen to it after watching this. Hopefully you watched the Oprah special after – it was fantastic, and really well done. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing the news on the doc – I wouldn’t have even know about it if hadn’t been for your daily email blast. Please keep my name confidential, not ready to blast this out quite yet.”
I’m sorry for what happened to you, but thanks for sharing your story. I think it puts into perspective really well how difficult it can be for young kids to process what’s happening to them in cases such as these.
Indeed, I think it makes total sense that many victims of childhood sexual abuse don’t even realize how much they were mistreated until they reach adulthood and become aware of how much emotional distance there is between a child and an adult and how sick what happened to them really was.
Most kids, honestly, lack the cognition to even process what’s happening to them at that age and I think you, as well as this documentary, did a good of demonstrating that.
Personally, I could only watch the first hour and half of the Michael Jackson accuser documentary.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but the stories were far worse than I anticipated.
My two oldest boys are the same ages right now as these kids were when Michael Jackson was allegedly abusing them so it was just tough to watch from that perspective for me.
I can’t even imagine how hard this was to watch for anyone who was sexually abused as a child.
Could these guys be lying? Certainly, anything is possible.
But if you watched this documentary they — and their families — would have to be some of the best actors of all time to pull off a lie like this.
Here’s further analysis of this case from me:

I think anyone reading this would recognize I’m not someone who rushes to rash conclusions. But in the wake of watching this documentary it’s hard not to think about them the minute any Michael Jackson song comes on.
I think Jackson would have ending up going to prison if he were still alive today.
Zac writes:
“I’m getting married in May. My Bachelor party is in Las Vegas for the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament (One of the two ideal weekends for Vegas).
Any tips, or insights on how I can get the most out of the already ideal bachelor weekend?”
Well, you should definitely come watch us broadcast “Lock It In” live from the MGM Grand on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the opening NCAA Tourney weekend. I’m excited that Todd Fuhrman, Cousin Sal, Rachel Bonnetta and I will all be doing the show live there.
But most importantly, you need to reserve a seat inside a sports book if you can, especially if you have a large group. Because it’s absolutely packed in the books then. Some places will reserve you a seat if you promise to bet or spend a certain minimum on the day, but you should definitely inquire about this in advance.
Finally, as an NCAA Tourney Vegas veteran, download the casino betting apps and fill up your account in advance of tip offs there. The lines to get bets placed in the morning can be insanely long and you don’t want to miss betting on a game because of the lines.
Just use the casino apps and then you don’t even have to be in the sports book to place a wager.
Have fun!
Blake writes:
“Is it more likely than Donald Trump keeps Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2020 if a fellow like Bernie runs? Is Biden the only democrat that would really stand a chance in 2020? He’d have to go up against the anti-white male establishment of the Democrats. Thoughts?”
The big question for debate is this — are the Democrats going to nominate a candidate like Joe Biden who puts the Midwest strongly back in play or will they nominate someone like Kamala Harris and take their chances on flipping states such as Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and the like?
I personally think the Democrats best route back to the White House is by reclaiming Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. (As well as, ideally, Ohio).
But it seems like the Democrats might not agree with me.
Okay, I’m off to Fox News.
Thanks for reading Outkick and I hope you guys have fantastic weekends.
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