The Syracuse University basketball team picked up a huge win on Friday night, as the No. 4 Orange downed No. 10 Florida at the Carrier Dome. However, as has been the case in the past few weeks, most of the conversation centered around what is happening off the court rather than on it.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim made news following his team's 72-68 win when he apologized to the accusers in the Bernie Fine scandal. Fine, a former Syracuse assistant, was fired last week amid allegations that he molested team ball boys over his tenure with the university.
"I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made," Boeheim said at his postgame news conference. "I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that, and I regret any harm that I caused.
"It was insensitive for the individuals involved and especially to the overall issue of child abuse."
Boeheim was largely skeptical and critical of the initial accusers when allegations first stemmed from an ESPN Outside the Lines report a few weeks ago. After the initial accuser, Bobby Davis, alleged that Boeheim knew that Davis was spending time in Fine's hotel room on road trips, the head coach shot down the alleged accounts.
"This is alleged to have occurred … what? Twenty years ago? Am I in the right neighborhood? It might be 26 years ago? So, we are supposed to what? Stop the presses 26 years later? For a false allegation? For what I absolutely believe is a false allegation? I know he's lying about me seeing him in his hotel room. That's a lie," Boeheim told the Post-Standard. "If he's going to tell one lie, I'm sure there's a few more of them."
Boeheim also initially went as far as saying that Davis was making the allegations for money.
"The Penn State thing came out and the kid behind this is trying to get money. He's tried before. And now he's trying again," Boeheim told the Post-Standard. "If he gets this, he's going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I'd say about $50 million. That's what this is about. Money."
As part of his apology on Friday night, Boeheim stressed the importance for awareness when it comes to child abuse.
"They need to get the message out," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can to do that, whether I'm coaching or not coaching"
Fine was fired on Nov. 26, but the university has initially supported Boeheim after the coach backed off his initial statements in the wake of Fine's dismissal.