Syracuse released the following statement about longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, currently under investigation for alleged molestation, earlier this evening:
“At the direction of Chancellor [Nancy] Cantor [ed. note: statement from Cantor here], Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately.”
It’s an abrupt, unceremonious end to a 35-year career, but considering Outside the Lines’ bombshell report this morning – namely, the recorded phone call purportedly between Fine accuser Bobby Davis and Fine’s wife Laurie – probably a necessary one.
Fine was placed on leave, but once this tape emerged, Fine couldn’t be affiliated with the university at all. Consider: not only is Fine accused of molestation, not only did Fine’s wife seemingly admit to knowing about it in the recorded call, but Davis is saying he and Fine’s wife had a sexual relationship. This is one of the most bizarre, and potentially ugliest, scandals we’ve seen. And Syracuse, before it gets any worse – and before head coach Jim Boeheim, who fiercely defended Fine when the story broke, releases a statement tonight – decided it’s already seen enough.
UPDATE: Boeheim has released his statement. It’s a marked departure from his original stance:
“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”
We wondered earlier today, in the wake of OTL’s report, if Boeheim regretted going to bat for Fine the way he did. The statement above seems to erase any doubt.
Getty photo, by Jim McIsaac