In November 2011 ESPN reported that two former Syracuse ball boys accused then-assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually assaulting them, and the firestorm would eventually lead to Fine losing his job when a third accuser surfaced.
An investigation into the allegations led to no charges being filed against Fine. And just hours before the program takes the Verizon Center court it was reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard that former assistant Bernie Fine has filed the initial paperwork in a defamation suit against ESPN.
Fine is seeking unspecified damages from the network, and according to the Post-Standard neither his legal representation nor an ESPN spokesperson were willing to comment on the pending litigation.
However, ESPN spokesman David Scott did tell the newspaper that the network stood by its reporting of the allegations.
How much of a distraction will this be for Syracuse when they take on Indiana, and possibly for the remainder of the weekend should the Orange beat the Hoosiers? Not much, given how long Fine’s been away from the program.
While questions about the lawsuit could lead to an ornery head coach, don’t expect this to be something that distracts the Orange from the task at hand.