Amid criticism from victims’ rights advocates, Boeheim apologized and said he spoke out of loyalty and was basing his comments on a 2005 university investigation that failed to corroborate Davis’ claims.
Boeheim referred questions to the university’s press office. University spokesman Kevin Quinn said that Syracuse appreciated the work done by the U.S. attorney’s office and that the decision to fire Fine was appropriate.
‘‘It was made in the best interest of the university,’’ Quinn said.
Davis and Lang sued Boeheim and the university for defamation, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying Boeheim’s defense of his friend was clearly opinion. Gloria Allred, the lawyer who represented the two men, did not immediately comment.
Fine, who put his Syracuse home on the market in March, has been in Florida and was recently hired as a consultant for an Israeli basketball team.
Laurie Fine has sued ESPN, alleging defamation and claiming the network knew that Davis was lying and ruined her life. That suit is pending.
The university’s prompt response to the allegations was done in good faith but was flawed because, among other things, there was no direct contact with law enforcement, a special committee of the university’s board of trustees said in a report released in July.
Davis met Fine in the early 1980s at a park that was a basketball hangout for kids in a working-class neighborhood. After he became a ball boy in 1983 around age 11, Davis said, he went everywhere with Fine.
Fine turned into a father figure, and as Davis spent more time at the older man’s house — actually living there sometimes — the abuse escalated from touching outside the pants to inside, according to Davis.
During an interview in December with The Associated Press, Davis said the abuse would sometimes occur in Fine’s campus office with secretaries just beyond the closed door, at Syracuse basketball camp and at a fraternity house.
Some of the abuse would occur in Davis’ bed in Fine’s basement while Fine’s wife was home, Davis said.