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Charge: Ex-Assistant Coach Tried to Extort Louisville

Paul Steinbach

A former University of Louisville basketball assistant coach has been charged with one federal count of attempting to extort money and other things of value from the school, as reported by ESPN.

According to information released Tuesday by Michael Bennett, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, the charge stems from an in-person meeting between Dino Guadio and Louisville officials on March 17, during which Guadio "threatened to report to the media allegations that the University of Louisville men's basketball program had violated [NCAA] rules in its production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes and its use of graduate assistants in practice, unless the University of Louisville paid [Gaudio] his salary for an additional 17 months or provided the lump sum equivalent of 17 months of salary."

Later that day, Gaudio "sent a text message to the University of Louisville personnel containing one of the recruiting videos he was threatening to send to the media," according to the charge, with the text message traveling outside Kentucky. Guadio, who spent three seasons as a Louisville assistant before being replaced, is charged with interstate communication with intent to extort.

"As detailed in the charging document, after Gaudio was informed that his contract would not be renewed, he threatened to inform members of the media of alleged NCAA violations within the men's basketball program unless he was paid a significant sum of money," Louisville officials said in a statement, as reported by ESPN. "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. 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."

According to ESPN, Louisville received a notice of allegations from the NCAA in May 2020, including one Level I allegation involving improper recruiting offers for former signee Brian Bowen II and the coach of another prospect, as well as three Level II allegations, including one against former basketball coach Rick Pitino. The case is still being adjudicated through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.

Louisville also is accused of failing to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete.

"When he was not renewed, he was hurt, he became angry, and in the course of that he made statements he regrets," Gaudio's attorney, Brian Butler, told ESPN. "Unfortunately, those statements were taped, and he was not given an opportunity to walk them back. They were turned over to law enforcement. Coach Gaudio takes full responsibility for his actions and lack of judgment and the statements he made in a very heated situation. He apologies to his family and friends for his actions and hopes that everyone will consider his 40 years of good and all the contributions he has made."

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Gaudio, 64, faces up to two years in prison and is eligible for probation.

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