Gaudio pleads guilty to L’ville extortion attempt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former Louisville basketball assistant has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of attempted extortion and will avoid prison time.

Dino Gaudio was dismissed from the team along with another assistant in March after the Cardinals missed the NCAA tournament. During a meeting with Louisville officials, Gaudio threatened to go to the media with alleged NCAA violations by the men’s basketball program, according to federal prosecutors.

He pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of interstate communication with intent to extort, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Louisville. Gaudio agreed to a plea deal that will include probation and a fine.

Gaudio, 64, threatened to expose alleged violations by the program “in its production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes and in the use of its graduate assistants in practices,” according to a charging document filed in May. He asked for 17 months of salary or a $425,000 lump sum payment, according to the U.S. attorney.

Gaudio will be sentenced on Aug. 27.

He had been the head coach at Wake Forest from 2007 to 2010. He then spent eight years as an ESPN analyst before joining Louisville in 2018. Gaudio also previously led Army and Loyola-Maryland and worked with Louisville head coach Chris Mack at Wake Forest.

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