Bernie Fine

Bernie Fine will not be charged in child molestation case


After all the headlines, controversy and the loss of his job, former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine will not be charged in his ongoing child molestation case.

The news comes via, after officials spent nearly a year researching over 100,000 pages of documents and listening to the testimony of several alleged victims. Steven Clymer, an assistant United States Attorney, filed court documents on Friday morning officially ending the investigation that began when former Orange ball-boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, who are stepbrothers, made  accusations that Fine sexually abused them as children in the 1980s. Two additional accusers, Zach Tomaselli and Floyd Van Hooser, have since admitted to lying about their accusations.

It’s small consolation for Fine, who lost his job just 10 days after he was accused of these crimes.

The big question now is, what’s the university going to do? Fine was a long-time assistant under coach Jim Boeheim for 35 years who was immediately cast aside. Will they offer him his old job? Will Fine file a wrongful termination suit? Will the  program jump the gun and offer him some sort of cash settlement as penance? I’d be willing to bet the school has something planned to apologize to Fine.

If they don’t that’s a travesty. In this country — to go all America on you — you’re innocent until proven guilty and in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case, Syracuse jumped the gun to make sure that there wasn’t an trouble as a university if something did happen. Nothing did and now there are going to be consequences for the school not having any trust in Fine.

Fine has denied all wrongdoing since the charges came about.

While none of us will know the whole story and who is telling the truth, it’s at least great to hear that were weren’t experiencing some sort of  sick trend within college sports of coaching violating the trust they have with young people for some twisted and disgusting need.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?