Lessons from Syracuse, Penn State and Duke on responding to scandal

Ten days ago, Syracuse University put associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave amid accusations that Fine had sexually molested two boys, the Washington Post reports. Immediately, head coach Jim Boeheim attacked the credibility of one of the two accusers in an interview with ESPN: “It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he has told… there is only one side to this story. He is lying.” Since then, a third man has accused Fine of molestation, and the university fired Fine on Sunday. Boeheim told the media that he supported that decision, and he expressed regret for initial statements that might have been “insensitive to victims of abuse.” As university scandals unfold, and more facts are made public, academic or athletics leaders sometimes face criticism for their initial statements. At Penn State this month, now-former President Graham Spanier was criticized for issuing a statement that expressed “unconditional support” for two administrators accused of not reporting suspected child abuse…

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