Syracuse chancellor vows ‘to find the truth’
Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor sent an e-mail to school alumni detailing that the school will “do everything in our power to find the truth” as allegations surfaced of associate men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine molested two former ball boys.
The university placed Fine on administrative leave Thursday night in light of the investigation.
“Let me be clear. We are aware that many wonder if university administrations are willing to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing that may disrupt a successful sports program. I can assure you I am not, and my fellow administrators are not,” Cantor wrote in the e-mail.
“We hold everyone in our community to high standards and we don’t tolerate illegal, abusive or unethical behavior – no matter who you are.”
Bobby Davis, the first alleged victim who is now 39, told ESPN’s Outside The Lines that he was molested by Fine in 1983, right before he entered the seventh grade.
A second victim, 45-year-old Mike Lang, is Davis’ stepbrother and also a former ball boy. He claims that Fine molested him while he was in the fifth grade.
Davis, who was the team’s ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, said that the sexual acts occurred at Fine’s home, Syracuse basketball facilities and on team road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.
Davis said he never told Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim about the abuse.
Davis said he reported the inappropriate conduct to Syracuse police in 2003 but was told that the statute of limitations had run out.
The university released a statement Thursday night saying it had investigated claims in 2005 that an adult male had been subject to inappropriate contact by an associate men’s basketball coach but that there was no evidence the allegations were true.
Boeheim denied that the allegations occurred in an interview with the New York Times.
“I’ve known Bernie Fine for 45 years, and there’s absolutely no way that I believe any of this could possibly have happened,” he said Thursday. “That’s the bottom line.”
Fine has spent 35 seasons as an assist under Boeheim.
“At this time, all we really know is that a terrible tragedy is unfolding for both the accuser and the accused,” Cantor wrote. “I want you to know that we will do everything in our power to find the truth, and – if and when we do find it – to let you know what we have found.”