Jim Boeheim’s Job at Syracuse Should Be Safe Until More Information Revealed in Bernie Fine Scandal


Jim Boeheim's Job at Syracuse Should Be Safe Until More Information Revealed in Bernie Fine Scandal“Coach Boeheim is our coach.”

Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor made that perfectly clear about Jim Boeheim on Tuesday, two days after assistant head coach Bernie Fine was fired by the university amid allegations of sexual abuse.

It’s a bold proclamation when you consider the snowball effect we all witnessed at Penn State, which ultimately led to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno. But from what we know regarding the Fine situation at this very moment, calling for Boeheim’s firing is a bit of an overreaction.

Will we eventually learn new information about the Fine scandal? Very likely. Will what we learn incriminate or otherwise reveal that Boeheim knew more than we’re currently led to believe? It could happen.

But all we know at this point are the allegations against Fine, which have come from three different accusers. To then instantly assume that Boeheim had knowledge of Fine’s alleged injustices would mean we’ve fallen victim to the moment.

We all saw what went on at Penn State. And while that situation will hopefully encourage victims of sexual abuse to speak up, it also has the ability to cloud our vision when it comes to other, new allegations surrounding new individuals.

The Jerry Sandusky scandal is disgusting. The Bernie Fine scandal is disgusting. Anyone with a shed of common sense and morality can identify that.

But each scandal is as different as the two sports Sandusky and Fine each coached. Each scandal that arises from now through the end of time will also be different, and therefore, deserves to be treated as such.

Bobby Davis, one of the men who has accused Fine of molesting him while he was a ball boy at Syracuse, may have been inspired to once again speak up after seeing everything that’s gone on at Penn State. But that’s where the relationship between the two scandals ends — or at least it should.

We can sit here and speculate that Boeheim knew more than he did, but that’s all it would be at this point — speculation.

Should Boeheim have kept a more watchful eye on Fine’s actions? It is his basketball program, so yes, he probably should have. But such is the case with anything: Hindsight’s 20/20. And while that notion does nothing to reverse anything unjust that occurred within the Syracuse basketball program, it’s the unfortunate truth.

We can sit here now and look back at how close Davis and Fine reportedly were back in the 1980s and wonder how it didn’t raise a red flag to those who were around the two on a consistent basis. But our view is already going to be skewed because of what’s now come out.

We also now know that the Syracuse police department knew of the allegations against Fine in 2002, although an investigation was never started, apparently because the statute of limitations had run out by the time the accuser came forward. And the fact that then Police Chief Dennis DuVal played basketball at Syracuse from 1972-1974 makes things a bit more strange.

But as far as Boeheim’s involvement, or lack thereof, we simply don’t know enough at this point to take away the job he’s held since 1976 at a school he’s been associated with since his playing days in 1962.

If we do find out that Boeheim turned a blind eye, similar to what’s believed to have gone on by coaches at Penn State when it comes to Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse, then of course Boeheim should be fired. He should be fired, and the judicial system should continue to run its course.

At this point, though, it’s just too early. This is Syracuse. This isn’t Penn State. Let’s see how things play out. That seems to be what Chancellor Cantor is doing when it comes to Boeheim’s future. It’s what she should do, and really it’s the only thing she can do.

Hopefully, we’ll soon be proven that Boeheim is as shocked by the allegations against Fine as he claims to be. Not for his sake or the school’s sake, but for humanity’s sake.

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