Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Will Denial That Ball Boys Traveled With Syracuse Basketball Team Cost Jim Boeheim His Job?

Overview of Syracuse Basketball Scandal

A disturbing story with plot lines potentially similar to the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky investigation just became more compelling.

Bernie Fine - Pedophile?

Bernie Fine, a long-time assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University, and close friend of head coach Jim Boeheim, was recently fired in the wake of recent allegations by at least one former Syracuse ball boy, Bobby Davis, that he had molested them over a period of years.  Two other men have come forward with similar allegations, although neither worked as Syracuse ball boys.

Bobby Davis Had History of Making Complaints Against Fine
Bobby Davis - Victim?

This is a particularly strange story for a number of reasons.  One, Davis has been making these allegations for years, going back as far as 2002, but was never taken seriously until ESPN recently investigated the story after Davis resurfaced following the emergence of the PSU scandal.  This has led some to conclude (as Jim Boeheim did initially - he has since changed his tune) that Davis is simply crying wolf again, in a search for money.  Others have concluded that this scandal is the product of an overzealous and misplaced investigation by ESPN.


Laurie Fine All But Admits Bernie Fine a Pedophile in Taped Phone Call With Bobby Davis

Laurie Fine: Strange
Davis taped a call with Fine's wife years ago, and she basically does everything but call her husband a pedophile.  The tape is one of the strangest things I have ever heard; Mrs. Fine basically acknowledges Fine is a pedophile, describing him as at once demented and feeling he is "above the law."   She also makes clear that she knew exactly what was going on, making her complicit in her husband's alleged crimes.  Very odd.

Click Here to hear Laurie Fine's conversation with Bobby Davis.

Click Here for a full written transcript of the conversation between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis.

Oh, and did I mention that Davis claims that he slept with Mrs. Fine, and that when he told Bernie Fine about the liaison, he simply shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "who cares" ?

Evidence Seems Clear Davis Traveled With Syracuse While a Ball Boy

Then, we have the traveling ball boy issue.
The 'Cuse - Not Unlike PSU?
Early reports, which included statements from Davis's contemporaries, indicated that Davis (and Davis alone among ball boys) had frequently traveled with Syracuse to away games, a practice that is apparently unheard of in college basketball.  The clear implication of this anomaly was that Jim Boeheim should have known that something fishy was going on given the novelty of this practice.

Based upon the way in which these early stories were reported, there seemed to be no debate about whether or not Davis traveled with the team - only about the implications of such practice where Jim Boeheim was concerned. Surely, Boeheim heard that Davis's claims that he traveled with he team were corroborated by his contemporaries...

Or maybe not.

Jim Boeheim Denies Ball Boys Ever Traveled With Syracuse Basketball Team

Boeheim:  Will Ball Boy Denial Cost His Job?
Yesterday Boeheim categorically denied that ball boys ever traveled with the team.  Although he did not specifically reference Davis, his statement appeared unequivocal, and thus appears to have included Davis within its ambit.  In making this statement, Jim Boeheim may have put his job on the line.  If, in fact, it is proved that Davis traveled with the team as a ball boy, Boeheim will be branded a liar, and clearly would be viewed in some circles as therefore complicit in Fine's alleged misdeeds (i.e. why lie about Davis traveling with team unless you have something to hide?).

Why Did Jim Boeheim Deny Ball Boys Traveled With Syracuse Basketball Team?

Here is what I think. Boeheim has been so firmly entrenched at Syracuse for so long that he believes he is untouchable.  He apparently believed, though, that his stewardship could be jeopardized if it was determined that Davis traveled with the team.  Why, I don't know - but I have a guess:  he realized that this practice is so unheard of that its existence would call into question why he was not suspicious or, in a worst scenario, that he was suspicious and did nothing.  So, despite the clear evidence provided by Davis and his fellow ball boys, despite knowing that if, indeed, Davis could prove he traveled with the team (plane tickets, hotel reservations, pictures, testimony from players and staff, etc.), he has taken the position that Davis did not travel with the team.

In doing so, he has in my mind cast suspicion upon himself that did not exist, for me, until today.

We will keep an eye on this story.


Anonymous said...

Or it could just be that Davis travelled with Fine not as an official ball boy. Davis does admit babysitting for Fine, and living with Fine.

Employment Lawyers said...

Good point - could be - Boy, this thing has settled down - Go 'Cuse!