NCAA finds no violations in Duke, Lance Thomas case
The NCAA will not punish Duke or former player Lance Thomas after investigating a very expensive jewelry purchase made during the 2009-10 national championship season, the school said Tuesday.
“The NCAA has found no evidence of a rules violation in this situation based on the information available, and both the NCAA and Duke consider the matter closed,” Duke officials said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. The news was first reported by The News & Observer.
Thomas’s jewelry purchase, which totaled nearly $100,000 in cost, occurred in December 2009. He paid $30,000 in cash for five pieces of diamond jewelry, but was sued for not paying the balance of $67,800, according to details that emerged when the lawsuit came to light last September. Thomas and the jewelry company reached a settlement that included a confidentiality agreement, leaving questions surrounding Thomas’s access to such a large sum of money unanswered.
Because Duke won a national championship at the end of that season — which would potentially be vacated if Thomas violated the NCAA’s amateurism guidelines — the school self-reported the situation to the NCAA.
Both the jeweler and Thomas refused to speak with the NCAA during the investigation, and neither was forced to do so by the power of subpoena. It’s clear from the short statement released by Duke on Tuesday that the NCAA not finding a violation in this case is directly related to the lack of information given by Thomas and the jeweler. Thomas told reporters in October that he “didn’t think” he committed a violation.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in October that Duke planned on fully cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation. This was the only time all season Krzyzewski addressed the topic.
“Before anything was made public, they started working together to go through a process of seeing what happened,” Krzyzewski said in October. “I have complete trust and confidence in all the parties involved and am very proud of our compliance record over the 33 years that we’ve been here.”
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