When Syracuse University fired Bernie Fine Sunday evening, they took the first step in the aftermath of the sexual abuse allegations that have rocked the University, basketball program and fanbase to the core.
Step 2 may or may not be deciding what to do with Jim Boeheim. And even if it's not Step 2, there is going to have to be some kind of public statement sooner or later on Boeheim's fate. For better or worse.
I'd say it goes without saying that we still have A LOT to find out about this situation, but anyone who's read the message boards and social networks tonight knows that many folks have already made up their mind one way or another.
SO, let's say once again that we still know very few facts about the allegations, we don't know the whole story by a mile and most of the things we do know are hearsay.
Okay, so, what of Jim Boeheim?
There's a lot of folks calling for Boeheim's head right now and I can understand that. Gregg Doyel came out of the gate swinging, which was surprising since the contrarian argument would be to say Boeheim should keep his job. Anyway, Doyel lays out the reasons behind it, even if he does it in the most condescending way possible, but he makes points.
I'm sure there will be dozens more columns Monday saying the same thing.
I said in my earlier post that I think Boeheim could end up taking the fall not because of what he said last week but simply because he was in charge of Bernie Fine for 30+ years while all of this allegedly happened. We live in a society that demands accountability. When something terrible happens, we want to know who to blame. It's not the best answer to every situation but it is what usually happens. Fine's fate is with the authorities but will public opinion demand more? Probably.
The official TNIAAM opinion? Boeheim's comments weren't a good idea on a lot of different levels but I will always understand where they came from. He was defending a friend of 50 years who he (we assume) honestly did not believe was capable of such crimes. If I'm ever accused of such things, I pray someone stands up for me the way Boeheim did, even if it turns out he was wrong.
Do I think Boeheim should be fired? Honestly, I don't know. Probably? I guess I'm just still holding out hope that it will be proven Jimmy knew nothing and somehow that helps. But I don't know.
Nancy Cantor didn't mention Boeheim by name in her statement, though she alluded to him by saying, "those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded."
Doc Gross hasn't commented on Boeheim. Then again, Doc Gross hasn't commented on ANYTHING since the accusations came down. But that's an issue to be discussed at a later date...
Clearly from his own statement, Boeheim has been muzzled from here on out. He didn't write that statement and everything he says, aside from his press conferences, will come from a PR expert or lawyer, even if it carries his name. We've always wondered what it would take for SU to shut Boeheim down. Well, here we are.
I'd bet my life that right now, someone is setting up a sit-down interview for Boeheim and an esteemed TV interviewer in which Jimmy can make his case, apologize for his comments and try to move forward. I don't think it will be someone with a Syracuse background (to remove potential bias) and I highly doubt it will be ESPN (for obvious reasons), so even money is on Matt Lauer (H/T: Zach). Expect that interview to happen by the end of this week.
The only other variable in play right now is The Unknown. A lot of folks are trying to figure out who's lying...Bobby Davis, who says Boeheim saw him in Bernie Fine's hotel room, or Jimmy B, who says he did not. Unfortunately for Boeheim, Davis' story gets more credible by the day. If it turns out that Boeheim did know more than he's let on, or that he knew pretty much ANYTHING else along the way, it will signal the beginning of the end.
A month ago, if you told me I'd be sitting here writing about the potential end of the Jim Boeheim Era, I'd have called you insane. And that includes discussing just simple retirement. I always though James Arthur had another 4-5 years in him.
Right now? I'm trying to figure out how he makes to the end of this one.