What is Boeheim's role?
Any damage to Syracuse, or more specifically its basketball program, will come down to whether head coach Jim Boeheim faces any fallout. Assistant coach Bernie Fine is out. Good. The program can move on without much of a hiccup, assuming this is where it ends.
But if the legendary Boeheim is found to have overlooked something he should not have, if his career ends with the same ignominy as that of Joe Paterno, well, what's the first thing one will think of at the mention of Syracuse basketball?
If stuck to an institution, the association with child sex abuse is damaging beyond immediate repair. I don't think it will come to that, and Syracuse, having rid itself of Fine, can move on without Fine's actions defining an institution or basketball program.
Some stains don't fade
Los Angeles Times
Joe Paterno built Penn State, just as Jim Boeheim built Syracuse. And as the former was fired because he did not do enough in the wake of a child molestation scandal, so too might the latter.
And that's just the beginning of the irreparable damage Syracuse faces. There will be expensive civil lawsuits, and the program will have to rebuild.
Of course, the victims matter most in this case. But if you're involved with Syracuse in any way, you're now linked with one of humanity's most heinous and unforgivable crimes: the abuse of children.
Some stains don't wash out. Some never fade. Penn State is learning that.
Syracuse is about to.
Impact will be minimal
When all is said and done, Bernie Fine's impact on Syracuse will be minimal.
Sure, in the short term, the school should expect an ugly public-relations hit because of the timing of the sexual abuse allegations levied against the former assistant basketball coach. Long-term, however, it will emerge with few scratches.
So don't worry, Orange fans, the conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances that are the weather vane of your school's athletic aptitude will continue to occur, and Jim Boeheim will continue to coach there as many years as he wishes.
Unlike the Penn State saga, this ordeal sounds more like a horrible family secret come to light instead of the alleged schoolwide cover-up that has cloaked central Pennsylvania in a dark cloud.
Damage could be severe
Ask Penn State how damaging such a scandal can be.
The allegations of child molestation against Bernie Fine do more than hurt the former assistant coach's once-sterling reputation, spreading to head coach Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse program itself.
While Boeheim might not have known as much as some say Joe Paterno knew in a similar sexual scandal involving children, Boeheim's initial fierce defense of Fine will come back to hurt him, possibly resulting in the loss of his job.
Without Boeheim and with this stain, the program will fall from its pedestal, and it never will remove this stain from its legacy.