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Wednesday 30 November 2022
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Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University Agree to Settlement in Ballboys Lawsuit

Scoring the winning points at a basketball gameIt’s a case that has been ongoing for almost five years. When two former Syracuse University ballboys, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, accused assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting them years earlier, Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse University men’s head basketball coach, responded with a fiery defense. It seemed like a risky stance at the time, and it turned out to be a rare mistake by the Hall of Fame coach.

After years of going through the legal process, USA Today reported that the school and coach decided last week to settle the defamation suit outside of court. A joint statement released from the parties stated, “[Boeheim] regrets that he made those statements and that he questioned the integrity of Bobby Davis and Michael Lang. Since then, he has publicly committed to focus his charitable efforts on providing assistance to victims of sexual abuse, which he continues to do.”

Life’s about picking your battles — and moving on from this one was a wise move, statistically speaking. Individuals who bring lawsuits win the vast majority of cases that go to trial (over 90%).

It became evident to most people, early on, that Boeheim appeared to be on the wrong side of this one. He quickly changed from defending his long-time assistant, to defending his right to freedom of speech. The ballboys’ main point of contention was the veracity and slanderous way in which he chose to do so.

In a joint statement on the settlement, Davis and Lang noted that they “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.”

An unfortunate situation for sure, but perhaps a lesson for many on taking the time to consider all facts, and listen to all sides of every story before rushing to judgment. Whatever the monetary award Davis and Lang receive will be a small bit of restitution for what they have had to endure both in court, and more tragically, behind closed doors.