There was a very positive vibe flowing through the Syracuse University Carrier Dome Friday night after the Orange, who are ranked No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 4 in the AP Poll, downed the No. 9/10-ranked University of Florida, 72-68, in a non-conference game featured on ESPN. The mood turned 180-degrees in the media room, where Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim stood behind his podium and conducted his usual post-game press conference, which featured him, again, addressing the sexual abuse allegations involving former long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine.
However, this time the topic wasn't brought up by ESPN or CNN reporters. No, SU's headman did it all on his own terms and for the first time was very apologetic about his handling of the situation.
"I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made," he said. "I shouldn’t have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that and I regret any harm that I caused. It was insensitive to the individuals involved and especially to the overall issue of child abuse."
"I spent yesterday afternoon at the McMahon/Ryan House talking to people, the director and other people there and although I have been involved with them in terms of raising money, I think it’s important that we and I get involved more in terms of raising awareness.
"What I said last week was out of loyalty, I reacted without thinking, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’m trying to learn from my mistake and this has been a hard time. That’s all I can say, there’s an investigation going on, that I fully support because we all need to know as much as we can what happened."
After giving answers to a few basketball-related questions, Boeheim was asked by ESPN's Andy Katz, "How much has this (the topic of Bernie Fine and his alleged sexual abuse of two former ball boys -- Bobby Davis and Mike Lang) consumed you this week?"
"It's been everything," Boeheim said. "I haven't really thought about the game. I didn't worry about my players being focused. I was focused for them at practice.
"But this is, this whole topic, it's not harder on me, it's people who have been abused that's who it's hard on," Boeheim said. "I've given a lot of money and raised a lot money but I want to do more in the future for kids in this area and McMahon Ryan is the best place in the area for kids to go and talk."
During the past two days, some of the national media, including Yahoo! College Sports Columnist Pat Forde, thought Boeheim did not seem contrite enough during his Tuesday night post-game press conference, which featured the Orange headman candidly talking about Fine's firing and the sexual abuse allegations for the first time.
It was obvious -- you could just see it in his face and in his voice -- that Boeheim, who had a lot of time to think about what he said over the past few days, was upset at himself.
The big question is: how will the media, American people and victims of sexual abuse take his apology? Will it be a little too late; or is everybody finally getting a chance to see the real Jim Boehiem?
SB Nation New York blogged from press row at the Carrier Dome Friday night, as the Syracuse Orange beat the Florida Gators. If you'd like more information on the Bernie Fine scandal, check out the latest updates located in this special StoryStream. Please, be sure to follow us along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.