A U.S. Attorney in Kentucky filed federal extortion charges Tuesday against former University of Louisville assistant basketball coach Dino Gaudio because he demanded payment from the school in exchange for not revealing evidence of the program’s alleged NCAA violations.
According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on Tuesday, Gaudio threatened in March to release recruiting videos, which violate NCAA recruiting guidelines, to the media unless school officials paid him 17 months of his salary. He also allegedly said the school violated rules by using graduate managers in practices.
Louisville head coach Chris Mack had already informed Gaudio and another assistant, Luke Murray, that their contracts would not be renewed. Gaudio, according to the federal complaint, responded on March 17 with his threats to expose improper recruiting tactics.
Later that day, according to the complaint, Gaudio sent a text message to a Louisville employee with a copy of the video he’d threatened to share with the media. The message allegedly traveled from a phone within Kentucky to one outside the state. Because of that, Gaudio is charged with interstate communication with intent to extort.
“The allegations of violations are the impermissible production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes and the impermissible use of graduate managers in practices and workouts,” the school said in a statement on Tuesday. “While the University cannot comment further due to the ongoing federal investigation and the NCAA process, it continues to cooperate with authorities as well as with the NCAA on the matter.”
Former head coach at Wake Forest
Gaudio, 64, was an assistant coach at Wake Forest from 2001-07 on Demon Deacons head coach Skip Prosser’s staff. He became Wake’s head coach following Prosser’s death before the school fired him in 2010.
After working as an ESPN college basketball analyst, Gaudio returned to coaching at Louisville on Mack’s staff in 2018.
In response to the charges, Mack said, in a statement released by Louisville, said, “While I cannot comment on the details or substance of the matter, I am grateful for the professionalism of members of law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office. The University and I were the victims of Coach Gaudio’s conduct and I will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in their investigations. We take seriously any allegation of NCAA violations within our basketball program and will work within the NCAA processes to fully review the allegations.”
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Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. He placed second in both beat writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors national contest. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly. He’s won numerous state-level press association awards. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.