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 Syracuse.com, 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.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.