Surely, Florida didn’t expect this when it scheduled to play at Syracuse on Dec. 2 in the SEC-Big East challenge.
A snowstorm? Maybe. But not a media circus.
Florida is the second game on Syracuse’s schedule since the school fired associate coach Bernie Fine following allegations that he molested children.
Donovan has a close relationship with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, dating back to when Donovan played at Providence against Boeheim’s Syracuse teams. Boeheim has led Syracuse to three Final Fours and one national title in 36 seasons.
“It’s a tough situation for everybody,” Donovan said. “For the victims, for the university. Jim knowing Bernie Fine for as long as he’s known him, as long as he’s been around him. I’m sure it’s very difficult.”
Allegations surfaced against Fine a week after the Penn State scandal, in which icon coach Joe Paterno was fired after charges of child sexual abuse were brought against Paterno’s longtime assistant, Jerry Sandusky. According to a grand jury report, Paterno knew of Sandusky’s alleged incidents of sexual abuse, but passed the information on to his superiors instead of trying to put a stop to it.
Boeheim has maintained that he had no knowledge of Fine’s actions.
“It would make anybody like that feel terrible knowing something like that is going on, especially when you are dealing with kids,” Donovan said. “And I’ve got four of them. It’s always scary a little bit.
“And sometimes we don’t know all there is to know about everybody. I’ve got a great relationship with Jim Boeheim, I was out there with USA basketball with him this summer, he was coaching at Syracuse when I was playing. He’s always been good to me when I’ve been in contact with him. So my evaluation of him is my relationship with him. But in terms of (my knowledge of) the inner workings of Syracuse, his relationship, staff, what goes on there, it’s just not there.
“But I think for anything like that to happen on anybody’s campus would be certainly very difficult and devastating, especially when you are talking about kids.”