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Fine's wife threatens ESPN

GENEVA, N.Y. — Laurie Fine, wife of former Syracuse men's basketball assistant Bernie Fine, threatened to sue ESPN for libel on Wednesday. She alleges the network trampled her reputation by airing salacious stories about her and with claims that her husband molested boys.

In November, ESPN aired a story in which two former Syracuse ball boys alleged they were molested by Bernie Fine decades ago. A third made similar allegations but later said he lied.

"I'm here today as a wife and a mother who has had to endure the trauma of being smeared in the public as a monster," Laurie Fine said. "My life has been destroyed. They should apologize and retract these horrible lies reported about me."

Laurie Fine's lawyer, Lawrence Fisher, declined to answer specific questions but said he was discussing the complaint with ESPN.

Bernie Fine has denied wrongdoing and hasn't been charged. The local prosecutor said the first two accusers were credible but the alleged crimes occurred too long ago to pursue. Syracuse fired him in November, and he now consults for a pro team in Israel.

ESPN said the complaint is without merit, and it stands by its reporting.

Football

CHICAGO — Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said he expects any national playoff to conclude with a title-game bid independent of the bowl system.

A playoff, likely to include four teams, is expected to begin for the 2014 season. It would replace the No. 1 vs. No. 2 BCS matchup that has rotated among the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose bowls. The semifinals could be part of the bowls or put out to bid. A final decision is expected this summer.

Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, previously said his group would be interested in bidding for the title game.

Notre Dame: Linebacker Carlo Calabrese was charged with misdemeanor intimidation. He allegedly threatened a police officer while quarterback Tommy Rees was being arrested at an off-campus party May 3. Rees faces one count of battery, two counts of resisting law enforcement and one count of illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. He allegedly kneed an officer in the stomach.

SOFTBALL: Tampa senior pitcher Deanna Henriott (St. Petersburg Catholic High) and sophomore pitcher Kayla Cox (East Bay) were named to Division II coaches All-America third team.

Fine's wife threatens ESPN 05/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 1:16am]

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