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Former Louisville basketball assistant Dino Gaudio federally charged with extortion

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The off-court storylines continue to pile up for U of L basketball.

Syndication: Louisville Scott Utterback/Courier Journal , Louisville Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The first major negative Louisville sports story that this website covered was Karen Sypher’s attempted extortion of Rick Pitino, which began all the way back in 2009.

The nine millionth negative Louisville sports story that the site is now covering is former assistant basketball coach Dino Gaudio’s attempted extortion of the program he used to work for.

Wherever you go, there you are.

According to court documents, after being told in March that his contract would not be renewed, Gaudio threatened to release to the media details of recruiting violations committed by U of L if he wasn’t paid his salary for an additional 17 months past his termination. The alleged violations involved recruiting videos and the use of graduate assistants in practices.

If this is, in fact, how this all went down, what a catastrophic misstep on Gaudio’s part. While there’s certainly some serious embarrassment on the Louisville end, Gaudio has now put himself in a position where he could be spending time in a federal prison because he was pissed off he got fired ... and his only ammo was some lower level recruiting violations.

Regardless of the fine details and regardless of how all this eventually winds up playing out, this is yet another case of damage to the Louisville men’s basketball program that can’t be undone. It’s not the most embarrassing or the most significant, but it goes on the infamous list that will apparently never stop unfurling.

The repercussions from that list don’t stop expanding either.

There is a growing level of apathy amongst a large group of fans who would have considered themselves “diehards” a mere eight years ago. There is an even larger level of complete disconnect for an entire generation of young Louisville fans who have been dealing with embarrassing headlines in some form or the other since the beginning of their formative years.

The time for “things have to change” has long since passed. Now it’s simply try to make a decent self-deprecating joke or two and try to soldier on.

It sucks. There’s no other way to sum up any of this. It’s embarrassing and it sucks.

UPDATE:

We now have official statements from the University of Louisville and Chris Mack.

Statement from the University of Louisville

“This afternoon, the United States Attorney’s Office of Western Kentucky charged former University of Louisville assistant men’s basketball coach Dino Gaudio with “interstate communication with intent to extort” related to the non-renewal of his contract with the University. 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. 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.”

Statement from Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack

“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.”

SECOND UPDATE:

Gaudio’s attorney has now made a statement.

This is now taking on a “Josh Pastner’s buddy runs to the media because Josh didn’t wish him happy birthday” feel.

It’s telling that the statement said nothing along the lines of “there’s more to the story” or “those weren’t the only violations.” Gaudio got pissed that a friend of three decades was firing him, used the only ammo he had at his disposal to make a threat, and now here we are.

It could all be so much simpler than this.