Boeheim Still Speaks his Mind

As if the week in Central New York wasn't roller-coaster enough, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim actually spoke on the Bernie Fine situation a bit after leading his team to a dominant win over Eastern Michigan Tuesday night.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has become a hot-button issue in of himself of late - in light of the Bernie Fine matter - and he spoke about it publically a bit for the first time since his longtime assistant was fired.

"It's hard to put anything into words," Boeheim said after an opening statement about the game. "I've thought a lot today about a lot of different things.

"I'm saddened in many ways by what's unfolded. I'm looking forward to a time when we can talk and learn from what has happened."

"There's an important investigation going on, which I fully support, and I can't add anything to that by speaking more…"

But the longtime coach did. Plenty.

The prepared statement was a good start for Boeheim, but he eventually budged and spoke on the situation that the entire country is talking about. Facing a barrage of questions, and through humor and references to the prepared statements, the 66-year-old Boeheim said some interesting things.

When several questions came about his job security, the coach responded with a laugh.

"Can I tell you something?" Boeheim said to a reporter. "I've never worried about my job status for 36 years."

So much for the reaction to Nancy Cantor backing the Hall-of-Famer earlier in the day Tuesday.

Then Boeheim was asked about what happened on his watch.

"We will see," he said with a smirk. "When the investigation is done, we will find out what happened on my watch.

"We don't know what's happened on my watch right now."

Boheim continued to deflect inquiries about specifics on the matter, specifically his relationship with Fine. However, he did explain to the media what the policy is about ball boys on road trips – something that is at the center of the sexual abuse allegations against Fine.

"There are no ball boys that travel with the team," Boeheim said. "There never has been."

"People have been ball boys and have gone on to other things and other places; and it's not unusual for – around tournament time – for people to travel with out group."

"They're not ball boys, though," he reiterated.

After rapid-fire questions, the Syracuse coach spoke admirably about his former assistant Rob Murphy, who is now the head coach at Eastern Michigan.

Then the questioning shifted back to the Fine matter and Boeheim continued to rehash the fact that he will say more when we know more.

Later, he admitted that he was supporting a friend in his initial reaction to the situation when he issued comments that called the accusers liars. Several people in the room clapped for the former SU coach.

A brief lull filled the room, then the barrage of questions continued. Boeheim spoke of how people were hired and fired at the University and added that he has never been contacted about any of the moves during his time at SU. He was then asked about his responsibility as head coach.

"I have absolute say on what they (assistant coaches, players) have to do within the basketball program, " Boeheim said. "What people do outside of the program – I have very little, if any – control…"

Then he talked about the prospects of SU moving on without him, saying adamantly that the program is not about him.

"It is not about Jim Boeheim, it's about the Syracuse University basketball program," he made clear. "10 years from now, they will be fine."

The coach ran through what the players have been dealing with, saying that basketball remains their primary focus. Should the team lose a game, the coach made it clear that it would not be because of any distraction or outside matter.

But it was the last thing he said that brought the most surprise to the faces of the seemingly 100 media members in the room.

When asked about the audio tape from one of the alleged victims and Fine's wife that was released on Sunday that seemed to lead to the firing of Fine immediately afterward, Boeheim said:

"I didn't hear the tape."

"As soon as we get the information … you have to wait until you get all the information then we'll know," Boeheim said as he walked away from the podium.


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