Louisville’s noisy offseason continued Friday, as the university announced it has suspended men’s basketball coach Chris Mack for six games to start the 2021-22 season.
Mack’s suspension comes in the aftermath of one of the more surprising plot twists in college basketball from the spring: an extortion attempt against Mack by former Louisville assistant Dino Gaudio. Gaudio allegedly threatened to go to the media and expose wrongdoing in Louisville’s program after Mack informed Gaudio he was firing him. Unbeknownst to Gaudio, Mack was recording their conversation, which enabled extortion charges to be levied.
Nevertheless, Mack’s handling of Gaudio and that situation violated university guidelines, according to the school, though the specific rules that were broken by Mack have not been disclosed.
“The university concluded that while Mack was a victim of an extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio, Mack failed to follow university guidelines, policies, and procedures in handling the matter,” the school said in its statement. “The sanctions imposed upon Coach Mack are unrelated to the extortion attempt itself and the ongoing NCAA process.”
Mack will be suspended from Nov. 8-27 and will not be paid while he serves the punishment. Louisville has not yet released its full schedule for the forthcoming season, so it’s not publicly known which games Mack will not be coaching in. He will for sure miss Louisville’s trip to the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship on Nov. 25 and 27, which is an event that has Louisville playing Mississippi State and then either Richmond or Maryland. Louisville also has nonconference games — with dates not yet disclosed — scheduled against DePaul, Navy, Furman and Detroit.
“During the suspension, Coach Mack is prohibited from having any contact with the men’s basketball coaching staff or student-athletes,” the school said. “As the suspension is without pay, Coach Mack will forfeit approximately $221,000 in compensation.”
Said Mack: “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. 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.”
Gaudio, who pled guilty to extortion was sentenced Friday to one year of probation and a $10,000 fine.