BATON ROUGE, La. —
Down the road from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, it's obvious how George Mandella and his die-hard LSU friends feel about head coach Will Wade.
“I can see why the administration did it, but I don’t like it as a fan. I think he should stay until everything plays out,” Mandella said.
Mandella and other fans carried signs and wore shirts supporting him Saturday ahead of the Tigers game against Vanderbilt University.
“I just think it’s so unnecessary. It just further shows they don’t know how to handle a crisis,” Foley said.
The same goes for Torri Lee and her mom, Sheron.
"I really hate that all of this has happened. I really like Will Wade, he's a great coach. I really think it happens to other schools, he just happened to have this issue come up,” Sheron Lee said.
When the game started, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva could be seen on the court and fans let him know exactly how they felt.
"Joe Must go! Joe Must Go!" they chanted
Wade was suspended indefinitely from the program after a Yahoo! Sports report surfaced last week. The report details a phone conversation recorded by the FBI in which Wade allegedly discusses efforts to recruit someone.
The recording is of a conversation with Christian Dawkins, one of several people convicted last October of conspiracy to commit fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of collegiate recruits.
The report also alleges Wade expressed frustrations with an unknown party handling recruitment of a player only referred to as “Smart.” A freshman guard named Jovante Smart plays for LSU.
It’s not clear right now if the offer Wade discussed violates NCAA rules or if the player and his family knew or accepted any offers.
LSU did not allow Smart to play in Saturday night’s game out of an abundance of caution.
In a statement, Wade opened up about the report and said it doesn’t begin to tell the full story.
“I think it kind of happened cause LSU is on a good streak and doing good so a lot of people you know, oftentimes get jealous or envious so they pulled dirt out of the closet on him, basically,” Torri Lee said.
Eyewitness News asked fans if they believe this will impact the future of the program.
“I don't know. It's hard to tell. We gotta see. I don't know how we're going to get another coach to come here if we can't support Will Wade,” LSU fan Matt Donner said.
"I think it's going to make them play harder and win it all for him because he's been a great coach. They all love him. The guys get along so well,” Sharon Lee said.