Commentary: Jim Boeheim Should Be Next to Be Fired at Syracuse

The  Hall of Fame coach is ultimately responsible if assistant Bernie Fine is found guilty of molesting young boys affiliated with the men’s basketball program.

Posted: 11/30/2011 01:37 PM EST
Jim Boeheim

From the outset of the child molestation investigation surrounding Bernie Fine, his top assistant coach, Jim Boeheim has insisted this wasn’t the same as Penn State situation.

 

Boeheim was referencing the child molestations accusations against a former football assistant coach that ultimately led to the dismissal of legendary coach Joe Paterno two weeks ago.

 

Boeheim is right.

 

The Syracuse situation seems worse because as the head coach Boeheim may have overlooked some obvious concerns when it came to associate head coach Bernie Fine and two former Syracuse ball boys.

 

Even more damaging was when the allegations against Fine first became public two weeks ago, Boeheim not only stood behind his longtime assistant, he then went as far as to say the former ball boys came forward for money.

 

“The Penn State thing came out, and the kid behind this is trying to get money,” Boeheim said after the accusations became public. “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.”

 

But this week after another man came forward to say as a young boy he was molested by Fine and then victim Bobby Davis, now 39, provided proof that Fine’s wife may have had knowledge of the sexual misconduct that began in 1984, the school fired Fine on Sunday. Boeheim also changed his tune and has apologized for his insensitive comments.

 

The feeling, however, is that his gesture is too little too late. Just like Paterno, Boeheim should be fired.

 

In fact, he should have been jettisoned as soon as it became obvious that young boys were traveling with the Orangemen — it was in hotel rooms on those road trips that some of the alleged molestations occurred. As the head coach, Boeheim was ultimately responsible. He also should answer questions as to why the ball boys were on the road when that simply does not happen at the college level.

 

It was interesting Tuesday night to hear Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor put her support behind Boeheim.

 

"Coach Boeheim is our coach; he's getting the team ready tonight," Cantor said in an ESPN.com story. "We're very pleased with what he said Sunday night, and we stand by him."

 

She should be careful, as well, because a line of administrators at Penn State were sent packing, too.

 

Boeheim is a Hall of Fame coach and ranks fifth all-time in college basketball wins, but that shouldn’t matter. He must go.

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

 

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(Photo: Dennis Nett/The Post-Standard/Landov)

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