College basketball has another failed extortion scandal and Louisville is involved… again

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Dino Gaudio, a former assistant basketball coach at Louisville, was charged with texting extortion threats to the school.
Dino Gaudio, a former assistant basketball coach at Louisville, was charged with texting extortion threats to the school.
Illustration: Getty Images

At this point, the FBI should just set up office space in Louisville’s athletic department. That way, taxpayers would know that their money wasn’t being used on unnecessary travel expenses.

Earlier this week, former Louisville basketball assistant coach Dino Gaudio was charged with one federal count of attempting to extort money and other things of value from the school, according to a report from ESPN. The official charge is “interstate communication with intent to extort,” as the former coach was allegedly dumb enough to text his extortion threats because his contract had not been renewed and his time at the school was done.

So, instead of going back to ESPN where he was an analyst for years, or trying to get another coaching job somewhere else, the former Wake Forest head coach tried to shake down a program that’s been involved with FBI investigations for years.


This is hilarious.

“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 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.”


How bad was the shakedown attempt?

Gaudio wanted the school to pay him his salary for 17 more months, or give the amount to him in a lump sum because if they didn’t he was going to snitch. But, it’s not like he had something juicy, like a head coach OK’ing a shoe company to pay a recruit’s family $100,000 or that coaches were hosting sex parties with strippers and prostitutes for players and recruits at the dorm — which are all things that have actually gotten Louisville in trouble over the last few years. No, the “smoking gun” that Gaudio had were recruiting tapes the program had made, and the fact that graduate assistants were being used in practice.


The dude tried to shake down the dirtiest program in college basketball with a ball of lint and then sent texts about it as if screenshots don’t exist. Longtime college basketball writer Pat Forde asked if the death penalty for Louisville would be too much, as he thinks it might be time for the program to be put into a coma. At this point, calling Louisville basketball a shit show would be too kind.

Gaudio’s failed shakedown is reminiscent of Michael Avenatti’s 2020 attempt. Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer allegedly had evidence that was going to take down Nike, Duke, Coach K, and Zion Williamson. He claimed to have it all. But, in March of 2019, he was arrested, and in February of 2020, he was found guilty on all counts as he took the info to Nike and laughably tried to get $25 million out of them.


Over a decade ago, Rick Pitino was in the middle of an “extortion” attempt when he was the head coach at Louisville, as he claimed a woman he had an affair with at a restaurant was trying to shake him down along with allegations about paying for an abortion. That woman, at one time, was married to a man who was on Pitino’s staff and wound up spending time in prison.

College basketball is a wild place. And ironically, the adults — not the kids — seem to be the ones always causing trouble.