Basketball fans sound off on Bernie Fine scandal at Eastern Michigan game

Syracuse University men's basketball fans voice their support, dismay for associate head coach Bernie Fine following child molestation accusations.

The bottom half of Matt Ficarra’s body was paralyzed after an accident at Oneida Lake on July 30. This event caused him to miss out on playing and watching games, a difficult adjustment for the former lacrosse player and self-proclaimed big sports fan.

Ficarra followed the coverage of former SU men’s basketball associate head coach Bernie Fine, who was fired Sunday amidst child molestation allegations. Tuesday’s game against Eastern Michigan University was the first basketball game Ficarra has been able to attend since the accident.

Despite the child molestation allegations against Fine, Ficarra said he was excited to attend and he thinks the Bernie Fine scandal won’t hurt the school spirit or the performance of the basketball players.

“What’s it called…one bad apple doesn’t spoil the oranges?” said Ficarra. “I don’t see how anything would change.”

Ficarra believes men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim couldn’t have known about the sex abuse allegations against Fine.

“My dad thinks Boeheim’s next to go but I don’t think that,” said Ficarra.“He called the kid a liar and he wouldn’t have done that if he knew what was going on.”

David Straub, another attendee of the Eastern Michigan game, thinks Boeheim’s job is definitely in jeopardy.

“Oh, they will [fire him],” said Straub. “They’ll dig up something.”

Among the fans who braved the rain to attend the EMU game, Alex Chefalo visited from Gates, N.Y. to proclaim his opinions on the scandal with sartorial snark.

“I’m making a joke,” said Chefalo, unzipping his gray hooded sweatshirt. Beneath it, he wore an orange “Just Do It, ‘Cuse” T-shirt. He wrote the word “ADMIT” in bold, black letters on a white nametag sticker and stuck it over the word “do.” Fine has consistently denied accusations made against him.

“I think it’s a really weird situation,” said Chefalo. “I’m a big fan of basketball and it’s completely weird. I think it could be a somber crowd tonight.”

Chefalo doesn’t think Boeheim will get fired but he also thought Boeheim handled the situation poorly after Fine was first accused of sexual abuse.

After news broke of the allegations, Boeheim said Fine’s accusers were lying to make money after the recent sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University. Boeheim later said he regretted these statements.

“I think he kind of made an ass of himself, but what’s new?” Chefalo said.

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