LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville (UofL) has suspended men's basketball head coach Chris Mack for failing to follow university guidelines, policies and procedures in the extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio.
Gaudio pleaded guilty after being federally charged for interstate communication with intent to extort in June after threatening to report the program violated NCAA rules in its production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes unless the school paid him his salary of $25,000 for an additional 17 months.
The former assistant was sentenced to one year probation with a $10,000 fine by federal judge.
UofL said they concluded that while Mack was a victim of the extortion attempt, failing to follow university procedures in the matter will make him miss six games without pay.
“As I have said since the beginning of my tenure, we have high expectations for all of our staff members and coaches and we hold people accountable for their actions,” UofL Vice President/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said in a statement. “While we have made great strides over the last four years in changing the culture in our Department of Athletics, we cannot afford to have any setbacks, no matter how big or small, in our pursuits."
Tyra says Mack should have had others involved from the start, rather than relying solely on personal relationships.
The suspension is from Nov. 8 through Nov. 27 and covers six non-conference games, including two games in the Bahamas.
During the suspension, Coach Mack is prohibited from having any contact with the men’s basketball coaching staff or student-athletes. He will forfeit approximately $221K in compensation.
“I regret that any of my unintentional actions or failures to follow University guidelines have brought unnecessary attention to our outstanding athletics programs and University,” Mack said in a statement. “I understand that I could have handled matters differently and therefore I accept this suspension. While it will kill me to be away from our basketball family in November, I will do everything possible to set them up for success before and after my time away, and I am fully confident that our coaches, staff and student-athletes will rise to the occasion.”
WHAS 11 obtained the more than 10-minute recording where you can hear heated threats made by Gaudio -- demanding hush money after being let go.
It's yet another speed bump for the program, leaving U of L faithful saying 'here we go again.'
"The billionth negative headline pertaining to Louisville athletics in the past three years," said Mike Rutherford, sports writer for Card Chronicle and host for Big X Sports Radio, 1450 AM/96.1 FM.
For die-hard fans, and sports personalities, 'scandal fatigue' continues to set in.
"Everybody screwed this up -- everybody," Rutherford said.
Rutherford calling it embarrassing, yet sadly predictable.
"It's no longer, 'Hey, are they going to beat Duke this year? Are they going to beat Kentucky this year? Are they going to be a 3-seed? Are they going to be a 1-seed?' It's, 'Are they going to be able to play in the NCAA tournament? Are they even going to have a head coach for the first month of the season?'" Rutherford said.
Because yet again, mishaps like these are capturing the headlines more than success on the hardwood.
Coach Mack will be looking at more than $200,000 dollars lost during the suspension -- a time when he's prohibited from having any contact with coaches or players within the program.