Boeheim, Syracuse settle with ball boys in Fine scandal
Syracuse University has settled a defamation suit that Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, ball boys that were part of the Bernie Fine scandal, had filed against the university and men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim, the university announced Thursday. The terms of the settlement were not released.
In 2011, Davis and Lang had accused then-assistant coach Fine of sexually abusing them while they were ball boys with the Syracuse basketball program.
In a Syracuse statement released by Davis and Lang’s lawyers Thursday, coach Boeheim expressed regret that he had called Davis and Lang liars days after the scandal broke.
"Coach Boeheim regrets that he made those statements and that he questioned the integrity of Bobby Davis and Michael Lang," the statement read. "Since then, he has publicly committed to focus his charitable efforts on providing assistance to victims of sexual abuse, which he continues to do. We are glad to announce that we have resolved the defamation case that Mr. Davis and Mr. Lang brought, and look forward to putting this behind us."
The defamation lawsuit, initially filed in 2011, was thrown out in 2012 by state Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph on the basis that Boeheim was only offering an opinion.
The ruling withstood one appeal but was overturned by the state Court of Appeals in 2014. That ruling reinstated the lawsuit and prompted the settlement, reported Syracuse.com.
"The Penn State thing came out and the kid behind this is trying to get money," Boeheim said back in 2011. "He’s tried before. And now he’s trying again. If he gets this, he’s going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I’d say about $50 million. That’s what this is about. Money."
Syracuse fired Fine in November 2011, shortly after the accusations made by Davis and Lang were made public. He has denied all wrongdoing and was not charged after an 11-month federal investigation.
"We are very glad that our case against Syracuse University and James Boeheim has settled," Davis and Lang said in a statement. "We have always sought above all to ensure that those who suffer the kind of childhood sexual abuse that we did, feel unafraid to report it and to speak about it."
In March, the NCAA suspended Boeheim for nine games and ruled Syracuse had to lose a dozen scholarships for multiple violations over the past eight years. Syracuse basketball and football were both placed on five years’ probation.
It was subsequently announced the 70-year-old Boeheim would spend three more seasons as coach of the team before retiring.