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Former Louisville basketball assistant coach Dino Gaudio faces a federal extortion charge for allegedly threatening to go public with alleged recruiting violations in an effort to recoup salary when he lost his job in March.
Acting United States attorney Michael J Bennett filed the charge in a U.S. District Court in Louisville. According to the court filing, Gaudio threatened in a meeting with Louisville personnel to share recruiting videos with media that allegedly demonstrated NCAA violations. He allegedly made the threats a day before news broke that he lost his job.
Per the charge, Gaudio demanded 17 months of salary in order to keep silent. From the court filing:
"On March 17, 2021, during an in-person meeting with University of Louisville personnel, defendant Dino J. Gaudio threatened to report to the media allegations that the University of Louisville men’s basketball program had violated National Collegiate Athletic Association rules in its production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes and in its use of graduate assistants in practices, unless the University paid defendant Dino J Gaudio his salary for an additional 17 months or provided the lump sum equivalent of 17 months salary."
According to the court filing, Gaudio also sent a text message with the threat to a Louisville staff member. The alleged threatening text traveled from Kentucky to another state, resulting in the federal charge of interstate communication with intent to extort.
The content of the videos and whether they demonstrated NCAA recruiting violations is not clear.
On March 18, news broke that Gaudio and fellow assistant Luke Murray had both lost their jobs under head coach Chris Mack following a disappointing season that fell short of an NCAA tournament berth. Gaudio had worked on Mack's staff since he was hired at Louisville in 2018.
Louisville and Mack both released statements shortly after news broke of the extortion charge.
NEW: Statements from U of L and @[email protected]/x4z4YZGKsx
— Travis Ragsdale (@TravisRagsdale) May 18, 2021
Gaudio had been out of college coaching since 2010 before he joined Mack's staff. Previously he worked as an assistant and head coach at Wake Forest, an assistant coach at Xavier and head coach at Army and Loyola-Maryland. During his coaching hiatus, he worked as a college basketball analyst at ESPN.
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