There is plenty of flying shrapnel humming around the Syracuse/Bernie Fine case. Monday, the public was made privy to the items that federal authorities recently seized at Bernie Fine's house and workplace.
It's what you'd expect. All of his at-home electronics, including a raid on his Manley Field House office, too. But it's not what the authorities took the possessions, it's that Fine -- who still has not been charged with any crime and has denied all accusations -- reportedly was in possession of nine cellphones.
That's a detail that could potentially lead to serious collateral damage for Syracuse's basketball program down the road.
Even for a college coach, nine phones staggering number (still high if you want to assume five of those phones he no longer uses/are outdated). Plenty of cynics will greet this with mock applause, as assistants have been known to use extra phones as if they were a regular on "The Wire." For all the issues and problems Bernie Fine had in his life, there's really no plausible reason for him to explain having that many phones attached to his name.
We here at the blog mock Borzello for grotesquely having three.
There are plenty of issues bigger to this case than whether or not Fine was hardcore in helping Syracuse cheat. All of the sexual molestation allegations come in novel-weighted pages before we get to any NCAA impropriety, and I'm not saying that such impropriety is definitely even there. I'm saying Fine had nine cellphones and he was an assistant coach at a major D-I college basketball power.
Also, Fine was long off the recruiting trail, too. He wasn't he one working on landing the better Orange prospects in the past decade-plus. From a basketball standpoint, it doesn't make sense that he'd have that many cells to begin with. Those close to the program know Fine wasn't a cog in the recruiting machine at SU anymore.
Still, the question I can't get out of my head: Why so many phones, Bernie? (At the same time, I'm not in the mood to dip down into that dark territory right now.)
From the Post-Standard, here's an excerpt of what police were looking for and confiscated. (Note: Authorities couldn't care less, and it's out of their jurisdiction, if they ever came across information that showed illegal NCAA activity)
Two safety deposit boxes rented by Fine were also searched at local banks, according to the inventories from the execution of four search warrants. Seven letters were seized from one safe deposit box.The irony of this is, the NCAA recently rejiggered its bylaws in regard to cellphone usage. It finally let go of so many strict, stale rules with phones, including text-messaging and Facebook/Twitter-related activity. But Fine had these phones before those rules were alleviated. It's a ways down the road, and the NCAA is acquiescing everything (rightfully) to to authorities right now, so this is just a side note to this mammoth case that's got 20 times as many questions as answers right now.
Authorities led by the U.S. Secret Service and Syracuse police searched Fine's house in DeWitt Nov. 25 and Fine's SU office Nov. 29. Records show the agents were looking for pornographic material and records relating to any association with boys, past or present, and any records of boys living in Fine's home. The agents also sought all records of interstate or foreign travel, such as records of air travel and hotels.
From Fine's home ... the Secret Service seized nine cell phones, three iPads, two laptop computers and one desktop computer, the documents show. They seized six still or video cameras, 16 VHS tapes and nearly 150 CD's or DVD's, the records show. The agents also seized a bag of negatives, seven safe deposit box keys, file cabinets, two boxes of documents and two boxes of checks from the home, the records show.
From Fine's office at SU's office ... the agents seized a laptop computer, a desktop computer, 135 CDs, 217 VHS tapes, and a box of documents and photos, the records show.
The potential victims remain the center of this case, but from a basketball and athletics perspective, Syracuse is by no means in the clear. Fine could ruin his school's name even more if one clue leads to another, and suddenly he's caught red-handed in cheating. This could come back to Jim Boeheim once again, too.
Sometime in the future, the NCAA may want to or be able to look into the records and see just who was getting called from all of Fine's phones. The irony: AAU coaches and runners could end up being the best of the bunch, the stuff we'd all prefer to see, if anything wrong is on the phone records at all.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
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