The decision is in, Javonte Smart will play for the Tigers in the 2019 SEC Tournament.
The freshman had been held out of team’s regular-season finale against Vanderbilt after the Yahoo! Sports story regarding Will Wade’s alleged wiretapped audio suggesting he paid to land Smart’s commitment was released last week. On Friday, the same day LSU is scheduled to take the court for the first time in the 2019 SEC Tournament, against Florida, the school announced Smart has been cleared to return.
Here is the official statement from LSU:
LSU has cleared freshman Javonte 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.
Head coach Will Wade continues to be suspended following the report. On Thursday, Wade asked for his job back but the school has declined that offer until he agrees to speak with the school and the NCAA regarding the allegations against him.