What started with Penn State has now grown to include Syracuse University. An emerging pattern of abuse, lies, controversy, and cover-ups has grown into a media monster that rivals the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal that captured the attention of the American public nearly one decade ago.
As the details of the Penn State and Syracuse University scandals emerge, it is clear that the scope of this situation extends far beyond the lurid allegations of abuse and molestation. Recent interest from the public and the media has unearthed a tremendous lack of institutional control that apparently extends across the league.
According to the NCAA Constitution 2.8.1, institutions are responsible for monitoring compliance, identifying and reporting violations, cooperating with the NCAA, and taking corrective action.
According to NCAA president Mark Emmert, child molestation and sexual abuse allegations “try not only the integrity of the university, but that of intercollegiate athletics as a whole.” The NCAA’s upcoming investigation into Penn State will examine the “actions, and inactions, of relevant responsible personnel.”
It is these personnel that are now coming under fire. Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was fired earlier this month following his tremendous mishandling of the allegations. The victims of Bernie Fine are now calling for head coach Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Beiheim to be fired as well.
Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine was fired last night after a third victim stepped forward on Wednesday and signed a police affidavit detailing an incident of sexual molestation at the hands of the coach in 2002. The date of this newest report brought the case within federal statute of limitations, giving federal authorities the jurisdiction to prosecute. The following day, a dozen U.S. Secret Service agents raided Fine’s home. The seizure culminated in the removal of file cabinets, a computer, and Fine’s cell phone.
The case has now grown to involve the coach’s wife, Laurie Fine. Bernie Fine’s first accuser, Bobby Davis recently released a taped phone conversation between Laurie Fine and himself to ESPN in which they discuss the abuse in detail. The tape could possibly implicate Laurie Fine for aiding and abetting. However, according to Bobby Davis, Laurie Fine’s involvement is even greater.
Davis told ESPN that he and Laurie had a sexual relationship during his senior year of high school—and that she had initiated the relationship. Davis said that he told Bernie Fine of the affair, but that “It didn’t faze him one bit.”
The NCAA recently announced the launching of its own investigation into the Penn State scandal. The investigation will also examine the “actions, and inactions, of relevant responsible personnel.” The headliner of these alleged inactions is, of course, the former Penn State head football coach. Joe Paterno was fired earlier this month after his mishandling of the child molestation claims against Jerry Sandusky was made public. According to spokesman Bob Williams, the NCAA attorneys have determined that the circumstances at Penn State qualify as a possible violation of unethical behavior standards and possible violation of rules of institutional control and oversight—the most serious complaint the NCAA can make against a university.
Other Penn State officials have also been indicted for wrongdoing. Athletic Director Tim Curley stepped down after the allegations broke and now both he and former university vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury and failing to report the allegations of sexual abuse.
The broadening scope of both of these cases has illuminated the common bond between both organizations—the NCAA. As the Syracuse situation continues to unravel through the media, a pandemic lack of institutional control is emerging under the governance of the National College Athletic Association. Stay tuned as we continue to cover this developing and disturbing trend. Criminal Coaches & Corruption: The NCAA Sex Scandal.
NY Daily News