A couple weeks after a sex abuse scandal rocked the Penn State football program, now a sex abuse scandal is hitting the Syracuse men’s basketball program. The man around the center of this is assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine. Fine has been on the bench with head coach Jim Boeheim for 35 years. As I will explain below Boeheim’s statement of this matter could be questioned if Fine is found guilty of these charges.
Bobby Davis, who is now 39 years old, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that Fine began to molest him just as he entered 7th grade in 1984. According to Davis this happened at the Syracuse basketball facilities, road trips, the 1987 Final Four, and Fine’s home. You ask why was Davis so close to the Syracuse basketball program well he was the team’s ball boy for 6 years starting in 1984.
In fact Syracuse was aware of these claims six years ago, but they found no wrong doing on Fine’s part.
Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs, Kevin Quinn, issued this statement on behalf of the school:
“In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men’s basketball coach. The alleged activity took place in the 1980′s and 1990′s. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired. On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations.”
Yesterday a second alleged victim, Mike Lang, also claims that Fine molested him for many years. Lang, 45 years old, is also Davis’ stepbrother and a former Syracuse ball boy.
Now with the news of a second alleged victim the Syracuse Police have decided to open an investigation into the allegations against Fine.
I think Syracuse University handled this perfectly unlike Penn State University, which didn’t take action for days. ESPN made the news about Fine public on Thursday evening and Syracuse went right into action. First they put Fine on administrative leave. This had to be done; because there is no way that he could function with these allegations being known publicly. It took Penn State 5 or 6 days to decided the fate of certain individuals at the University.
Next many key people at Syracuse issued a statement on the University’s behalf. Chancellor (Nancy) Cantor and Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs, Kevin Quinn, and Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross all issued statements right away. Penn State failed to issue a statement right away and when someone did it was very short and didn’t answer a lot of questions.
To me the quick action by the Syracuse administrators shows what great leadership they have. You can read Cantor’s letter here. It gives great detail as to what is going on. The Chancellor is not hiding anything that is going on, she is putting it all in the open. Again this is something Penn State failed to do that left a ton of people asking questions.
Boeheim had the following things to say about this matter.
“We spoke to the people (Davis) asked the university to talk to. Not one person would corroborate his story. Why wouldn’t he come to the police (first this time)? Why would he go to ESPN? What are people looking for here? I believe they are looking for money. I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe. You want to put that on the air? “
Boeheim also denied seeing Davis in Fine’s room on roadtrips.
“He makes the point that he was around and traveling with the team,” Boeheim said. “Not that I know of. I never saw him. He is quoted — (that) I saw him in the room. I have never been in Bernie Fine’s room in my life. That is an outright lie.”
I am glad Boeheim released a statement and is not ducking away from the issue, but in saying the alleged victims are lying could come back to haunt him. If Fine were found to have molested these two kids by police I would have to think it would cost Boeheim his job. How could he survive if Fine is found guilty and Boeheim said the alleged victims were lying and looking to make money?
Boeheim should have just said something like this, I supported Fine in this matter and I don’t know anything about Fine’s misdoing. Something like this would have been more appropriate. If Fine were found to be guilty a statement like I suggested wouldn’t cost him his job because he wouldn’t have called out the alleged victims.
Boeheim might think he knows his assistant coach who he has worked with for over 30 years, but you just never know. In the case at Penn State a lot of people thought they knew Jerry Sandusky but Sandusky fooled them all.
For now you just have to wait and let the police investigate and do their job. In the end I hope the truth comes out. If Fine is found innocent this will be very sad story and it will ruin his name forever. If Fine is found guilty of the charges I think it will cost Boeheim his job especially since he called out the alleged victims in the case.