Bernie Fine Fired By Syracuse University

NEW YORK - FILE: Assistant coach Bernie Fine of the Syracuse Orange looks on from the sidelines during their game against the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City. According to reports on November 27, 2011, Syracuse University has fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine over allegations of child molestation. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the accusations, fervor, confusing and anger continue to grow, Syracuse University has fired longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

It's a move surprising to just about no one at this point. It was already clear that Fine would never coach at SU again. It was just a matter of whether or not the evidence necessitated it to happen sooner than later. And necessitate it did.

The school released an initial statement announcing the firing:

"At the direction of Chancellor (Nancy) Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately."

Then, Jim Boeheim took to Facebook of all places to issue his own statement:

"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."

Then, Chancellor Nancy Cantor provided a full statement, including some insight into why some details that have come to light were not evident in 2005.

Dear Students, Faculty, & Staff:  

Tonight, in the wake of troubling new allegations that emerged in the media today, I am writing to let you know that Bernie Fine’s employment at the University has been terminated effective immediately.  

Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all.  The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the University by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel.  Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded.   

Since I last wrote to you, we have been cooperating fully with the authorities.  On Friday, November 18, as the District Attorney has noted, we turned over to his office the results of our 2005 months-long investigation. Also on November 18, our Board of Trustees retained an independent law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to review our procedures in responding to the initial allegations when they first came to the University’s attention. I fully supported that decision and it is vital that we examine our protocols and actions in dealing with such serious allegations.  We need to learn all we can from this terrible lesson.  

All of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work. We do not tolerate abuse.  If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that this basic principle is reinforced. 

Sincerely,  

Nancy Cantor

Not too much to add at the moment. Expect Jim Boeheim to disappear until SU next game, Tuesday night against Eastern Michigan. Oddly enough, that game will be all about another former SU assistant, Rob Murphy.

In the meantime, the third accuser has said he approves of the firing but wishes SU would have apologized directly to him and the other accusers.

Still way too many questions to ask and answers to get in this whole process. This is Step 1 for sure. I dare not ask what Step 2 is just yet.

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