It’s one thing for Jim Boeheim to be absolutely convinced that Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, a man Boeheim has known for more than 50 years, is innocent of the sexual misconduct charges levied against him by a former ball boy. Boeheim vehemently voicing that opinion to the media, however, is the face of Syracuse athletics putting himself in a situation where he has almost as much to lose as the assistant who has been placed on leave.
Still, that’s exactly what Boeheim has done, flatly characterizing Fine accuser Bobby Davis as a liar who is trying to capitalize on the massive attention the scandal at Penn State has attracted.
“This is alleged to have occurred … what?" Boeheim asked late Thursday night. "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. If he’s going to tell one lie, I’m sure there’s a few more of them."
When he was asked what motivation Davis could possibly have to make up a lie that would undoubtedly ruin another man’s life, Boeheim did not hesitate.
"Here’s why," he said. "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. 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."
Then there’s also the issue of Davis having brought these same allegations in 2003, when they were subsequently investigated and found to be without merit.
“Bernie helped a lot of kids, a lot of kids," he said. "The Post-Standard and the university talked to those other kids (in 2003). None of them corroborated the story, at all. I know some of those kids. They’ve told me, ‘Hey, Coach. Bernie helped me. He cared about me. He knew I needed help and he helped me.’
“You need to go to your people down there at the paper. They investigated this for four months. Do they remember that? And they found … what? They investigated this and found nothing. They talked to Bernie’s neighbors and friends … everybody. They found nothing. Your paper would whitewash nothing. Don’t you agree? They had nothing. They could not write a story. They found zero."
It’s impossible to say whether Boeheim’s statements are noble or foolish until more facts are known, but he certainly could not have taken a more bold stance.
For more on these developments, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.