Lance Thomas Obtained Nearly $100,000 Worth of Jewelry at Duke, Did Not Commit NCAA Violation


Thomas, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, put a $30,000 down payment on $97,800 worth of jewelry on December 21, 2009. The jeweler sued Thomas who failed to pay the balance in the 15-day period allotted. The two parties reached a settlement in Sept. 2010.

How did the NCAA investigators determine nothing improper happened? Well, that’s simple. No one would talk to them.

Both the jeweler and Thomas refused to speak with the NCAA, making a potential investigation difficult. The NCAA does not have subpoena power and cannot force former student-athletes or third parties to talk. Thomas, now with the New Orleans Hornets, did not return a call for comment.

Thomas received nearly $70,000 on credit, surely not a perk granted to your average Duke student and a violation. Never mind how he miraculously obtained $30,000 in cash for a down payment. Not worth pushing a bit further?

Surely, we can be confident this decision has nothing to do with the program in question being Duke and that season being the year Duke won the NCAA Tournament (which earns the NCAA 10 figures). If you can’t trust the NCAA to uphold its own standards, who can you trust? Keep going after those Miami kids who might have gotten their club trips comped.

Related: NCAA Ruling on North Carolina Academic Scandal Was to Protect the Basketball Program, Right?