Scandals That Rocked Syracuse and AAU Basketball

December 11, 2011
by Justin

If you’ve read ScoutMe’s As the College Football World Turns, you should know one thing; when it comes to drama in college sports, you can depend on the @HempsteadHuddle to bring you the juicy details. Welcome to The Bold and the Basketball, your top-tier source for the drama, along with new rules and regulations in college basketball that you should know about. This is a weekly blog from the @HempsteadHuddle, so check back every week for more insightful pieces. If you haven’t heard, Syracuse and AAU basketball have been rocked by scandals involving sexual misconduct between an adult and minors. The Syracuse scandal involves associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine, right hand man of one of the winningest coaches of all time, Jim Boeheim. Just a month later, AAU Basketball President Bobby Dodd was accused of sexually abusing former players.


Syracuse Basketball

On the heels of the Penn State scandal with Jerry Sandusky, and the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, Bernie Fine along with the whole Syracuse Basketball program was put under America’s microscope. This time the legendary basketball coach who was put into the crosshairs was Olympic basketball assistant and National Champion, Jim Boeheim. When the allegations surfaced Syracuse University placed Fine on administrative leave, and fully investigated the matter.


In November, two former ball boys for Syracuse basketball alleged on ESPN’s Outside the Lines that they had been molested by Fine for over ten years. Fine, along with men’s basketball coach Boeheim, adamantly denied the charges. Basketball coach Boeheim even went as far to call the boys liars, and was even supported by the accuser’s father, who said his sons were not telling the truth.


After the initial allegations were made public, another person claimed to have been molested by Fine in 2002. On November 27, 2011, it was announced that Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor had fired basketball coach Bernie Fine. The smoking gun was the tapes ESPN released of a 2002 phone conversation between one of the former basketball ballboys, Bobby Davis, and Fine’s wife Laurie. The tape confirmed that Laurie knew about her husband’s behavior, but felt incapable of stopping it. The heartbreaking aspect of this case is that these incidents occurred over 10 years ago and District Attorney William Fitzpatrick indicated that the statute of limitations would probably block any action.


AAU Basketball

The latest news implicating AAU President and CEO Bobby Dodd of sexually abusing two young boys, hit the already bruised American public-eye in December. Bobby Dodd, the AAU’s top executive since 1992, ran an AAU team in Tennessee that had an alumni of great NBA All Stars like Penny Hardaway and NBA players William Bedford and Vincent Askew.


One of the alleged victims was 43-year-old Ralph West, who told ESPN that he was a 14-year-old AAU basketball player at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. West was a member of the Dodd-led AAU basketball team when the abuse took place. Dodd’s AAU basketball team was on the road when Dodd snuck into West’s hotel room late at night. A second victim who played for Dodd’s AAU basketball team came forward, but chose not to be identified in this situation. Dodd will probably not experience any criminal charges, due to the amount of time that has elapsed and the statute of limitations.


The Penn State sex scandal taught us all one thing that often gets lost when situations like this occur; the focus should be on the victims. These victims, some who are still children, should be considered in every way during these investigations. Check back next week for another installment of The Bold and the Basketball. Until then, this is Yorick Hempstead signing off.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.

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