Last night, the Post-Standard dropped what we all figured was the only remaining bombshell in the Bernie Fine allegation scandal...the 2005 Syracuse University internal investigation and it's findings...or lack thereof. You knew it was only a matter of time before somebody leaked it (WAS IT YOU???).
You might be thinking "better it end up in the Post-Standard's hands than, say, ESPN." However, I actually disagree. The Post-Standard is actually doing honest reporting here whereas ESPN has a throughline and since not everything in this report falls in line with their story, they probably would have squashed it. Sometimes, you just want that ESPN brand of journalistic integrity...
Anyway, we already had a pretty good idea that SU's report was lacking in hard-hitting substance but did we find out anything worthwhile? Indeed we did...
No. 1 - The Apology
The report about the university’s investigation into the then-assistant basketball coach — which SU refuses to release — includes a cryptic reference to a phone message Fine says his accuser, Bobby Davis, left for him in October 2004.
"Fine played the message in which Davis indicates he is calling to apologize; indicates what he did was wrong; and says that he is sorry," says the report, which The Post-Standard has obtained.
Davis is going no comment, which I suppose he should. But at the same time, doesn't look good, Bobby. Unfortunately for one party and fortunately for the other, the phone message has been lost.
There's this, too:
Laurie Fine remembers Davis said in the message that Bernie was "only good to me" and that Davis hoped Bernie would forgive him, Fisher said.
No. 2 - Incomplete Data
According to the P-S, "most" people interviewed believed Davis was a liar and made up the allegations. The list of people the university took statements from includes business associates of Fine's and some children that also spent a lot of time in the Fine household. It does sound like the University was pretty lax with covering all of its bases, however. They only spoke with one of three men Davis claimed were also molested and only two of nine boys (including Davis) who spent time in Fine's house as a kid.
No. 3 - An Assistant Matter
Mike Hopkins was formally interviewed and gave a statement but Jim Boeheim did not give an official statement, which does seem strange.
No. 4 - Two More People With No Stories
Davis told one story about a young boy who, because he was never seen in the Fine household again, was probably molested. That mystery person was contacted and said " he never saw Bernie Fine act inappropriately toward Davis or anyone else."
He also spoke of Ludwig Vita, who lived with Fine when he was in 10th grade. He said nothing ever happened and he considers Fine a good friend. He also stated that he never saw anything inappropriate.
Davis said he did speak with former SU strength coach Corey Parker about the abuse. SU's investigators spoke with him over the phone but did not get an affidavit from him.
No. 5 - Davis Pumped Iron On Your Dime
One of the perks Bobby Davis received from Bernie Fine was free use of the University gym despite not being a student at SU. Now I'm pissed...
No. 6 - A Mighty "Might"
Anytime someone says that they "might" have done something, it always raises a red flag. How do you not remember? Well Fine said he "might" have paid for Davis to attend basketball tournaments and to stay with Davis in hotel rooms on road trips. Is he coy about it because it's frowned upon or something worse?
So, what do we know that we didn't already know? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! What else is new? There's stuff in here that looks bad for Bernie and stuff in here that looks bad for Bobby.
At this point, either you believe that, of all the dozens of young men that lived with the Fines over the years, Bernie Fine molested two step-brothers for a decade but no one else, or you don't believe it. Until someone gives us something definitive, that's how we'll remain.