Syracuse University assistant basketball coach accused of sexual abuse

Long time Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has been accused of sex abuse by a former ball boy. Fine has been a coach at Syracuse for 36 years.

Bobby Davis, now 39 years old, alleges that Coach Fine abused him beginning all the way back in 1984 when Davis was in the 7th grade. Davis was a ball boy for the Syracuse basketball team. A second man Mike Lang, who is Davis’ stepbrother, also a ball boy, has also come forward with similar allegations of sexual abuse from when he was in 5th grade. The police have opened an investigation into the allegations and Coach Fine has been placed on leave.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines has the details about the alleged abuse, including an interview with Davis (trigger warning).

The immediate victim blaming by Coach Boeheim is really appalling to me. The New York Times reported:

Boeheim told ESPN: “I believe they are looking for money. I believe they saw what happened at Penn State, and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe.”

It appears that the one positive thing to come from the Penn State case may be that it has empowered other survivors to speak out.

UPDATE: Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s message to Syracuse community is fair and without victim blaming which is refreshing.

Join the Conversation

  • Prerna

    I agree that Coach Boeheim’s statement is troubling, but I think the statement released by SU’s Chancellor is exactly what we would hope for. She addresses that many people are questioning the fact that some universities seem to support their athletics to any degree and turn a blind eye to anything negative, and she promises that this is not the case at Syracuse. As a matter of fact, when the police refused to take action when allegations first arose in 2005, SU began it’s own investigation. She very clearly says “We hold everyone in our community to high standards and we don’t tolerate illegal, abusive or unethical behavior—no matter who you are. ” – and that’s a very powerful and promising statement.

    (You can read her entire message here: )

    • zerlina

      Thanks just updated the post! and agree with you!

  • nazza

    If survivors spoke up, en masse, every college and university would be profiled. I’m not necessarily saying that there would be evidence of cover ups or people in positions of authority who were abusers. I am saying that survivors are everywhere.

  • makomk

    Victim blaming? But that’s impossible – the victim in this case was male, and obviously that’s something that only happens to female victims. (Yes, Jezebel seriously argued that.)

    I actually suspected at the time that the only reason there wasn’t so much victim blaming with the Penn State case was because there were too many victims for anyone to convincingly blame all of them; it’s horrible to be proven right so soon though.