|Abuse allegations shock former Syracuse players|
|Updated 11/19/2011 6:32 PM ET|
That's what the police investigation into allegations that longtime Syracuse University basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine molested two former ballboys could reveal in time. But the former Orange star knows this:
"The Bernie Fine I know, I support 100 percent," Rautins said. "He's someone I've trusted with my own children."STORY: Syracuse students skeptical of allegations MORE: Syracuse case has differences from Penn State STORY: Boeheim all in with defense of Bernie Fine
The most well-known, of course, was former All-Big East guard Andy Rautins, who starred for the 2009-10 Syracuse team that reached No. 1 in the country. Only a few weeks after the Penn State child-abuse sex scandal involving former longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, Syracuse finds itself at the epicenter of another storm.
Like fans and other former Syracuse players, Leo Rautins reacted with disbelief Friday over the charges that Fine, head coach Jim Boeheim's right-hand man since Boeheim took over in 1976, is guilty of misconduct. Bobby Davis, 39, has accused Fine, 65, of molesting him starting in 1983 just before Davis entered seventh grade. Mike Lang, 45, Davis' stepbrother, also claims he was molested by Fine around the same time.
Fine called the accusations "patently false" Friday and said he's "confident, as in the past, a review of these allegations will be discredited and restore my reputation."
Syracuse police said Thursday they've reopened the investigation on charges first brought to them in 2003 by Davis but were dismissed after four people Davis said would corroborate his claims failed to do so.
So much for Saturday's game at the Carrier Dome being an ordinary early season matchup for the fifth-ranked Orange (3-0) against usually overmatched neighbor Colgate (1-1). In the absence of Fine, who has been put on administrative leave, former SU star and graduate assistant manager Gerry McNamara was elevated Friday to the coaching staff.
"My mother told me if you give it legs, it can walk," former Syracuse center Roosevelt Bouie said before politely declining to say much about the Fine situation. "I called the coaches and talked to the people involved that I needed to. I'm kind of a private person when it comes to family matters. To me, Syracuse is my family."
Bouie starred for Syreacuse from 1976-80, shortly after leaving Kendall High School in Orleans County. Rautins, a Toronto native, played from 1980-83 at Syracuse.
"You don't even have to be a media member to start something and have it go viral," Leo Rautins said. "That's the world we live in. Unfortunately, this has taken on an incredible life. I feel horrible."
"It's almost like guilty until proven innocent," said Tyler Roberts, 29, who is in his third season as varsity boys basketball coach at nearby Midlakes High School.
Roberts attended Fine's summer basketball camp as a kid and has coached at it five of the past six years. "I've never heard or seen anything that would lead me to believe these allegations are true — not a word of anything shady," he said.
Echoing Boeheim's strong support of Fine, former Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf told The Daily Orange: "It's not even in (Fine's) character to even do something like that. It seems like a lie to me. The whole thing seems real fishy."
Other former Syracuse players defended Fine, too.
Former Pittsford Sutherland standout Ryan Blackwell, a Syracuse forward from 1997-2000 who now coaches pro ball in Japan, said Davis was "always around," and would occasionally play pickup games with Syracuse players. But he said Davis didn't travel with Syracuse in his three seasons and said he never saw anything to make him think these allegations are true.
"(Davis) always seemed like a happy kid, but if this (molestation) is happening to you, why are you still associating with this person?" Blackwell said from Japan.
On his Facebook page, Blackwell posted: "I guess Bobby figured this was the perfect time to try and get paid with the whole Sandusky/Penn State situation happening."
Hakim Warrick tweeted: "Tip of the day 'believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.' "
Former Greece Athena and Syracuse star John Wallace declined comment, saying "I need to talk to the people I need to talk to first."
Tim Welsh, the former Providence College head coach and Syracuse assistant from 1988-91, roomed with Fine on road trips for three seasons. He said on ESPN's Outside The Lines on Friday he remembers seeing Davis on trips with Syracuse. He, like Boeheim, said Davis was there to help babysit Fine's children.
"I was rocked and shocked to hear these things. … I consider (Fine) a good friend," Welsh said on television. "I don't know what to say about the allegations other than that I've always known Bernie Fine to be an upstanding man."
|Posted 11/19/2011 11:43 AM ET|
|Updated 11/19/2011 6:32 PM ET|