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Cooperation not necessarily needed from Thomas, jewelry store, Emmert says

Oct 1, 2012, 10:01 PM EDT

NCAA Announces Corrective and Punitive Measures for Penn State Getty Images

Turns out that the NCAA might not need any help from Lance Thomas or the jewelry store he owed to punish Duke.

NCAA President Mark Emmert told Gary Parrish of that the association doesn’t necessarily need the cooperation of the former Duke guard, the jewelry store he owed, which is owned by Rafaello and Company of Duke to punish the program for Thomas’ involvement in a situation where he purchased $97,800 worth of jewelry with $30,000 in cash and was granted a $67,800 loan for the rest. The suit was recently settled.

“We certainly could deal with a case where we don’t necessarily have cooperation from the actors, but we still have to rely on facts and rely on well-established information,”  Emmert said while making it clear he was speaking in general terms and not specifically about Duke’s situation. “It occasionally drives fans out there crazy because they’ll read in a blog or some other source that this or that happened. But the standards of evidence that we use are pretty darn high because we’re dealing with people’s lives here. … We have to go out and make sure we can verify all that facts, and that’s always a big challenge [without cooperation].”

As far as speaking to Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Emmert said,  “that’s going to be up to [Krzyzewski].”

If the NCAA did indeed find something on Thomas, and, by association, the Duke program, it wouldn’t be the first time ever. However, it’s going to be tough when it involves a suit that has already been settled if no one is talking.

  1. florida727 - Oct 2, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Pretty sure Lance Thomas won’t be talking. Highly doubtful, if they want to stay in business, that the jewelry store will be talking. That leaves Krzyzewski, and I seriously doubt he’ll volunteer anything up. So what exactly can the NCAA find out on its own that isn’t already public record?

    What I really wonder is, if a punishment is handed down, can the school sue the NCAA for “failure of due process”? Maybe I’m the naive one here, but I think the NCAA has vastly overstated their ability to hand out punishment if someone were to challenge them. They’re not a legal law enforcement agency. What would happen if Duke, just as an example, said, “screw you, this guy is playing and there’s nothing you can do about it”, other than being banned from post-season play?

  2. mojo22046 - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    There comes a point when circumstances are so suspect that a violation is presumed to have occurred. Surely we’ve reached that point here. And in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the presumption will stand as sufficient to establish a prima facie case that Thomas received improper benefits.

    Thomas has the burden of coming forward to rebut that presumption, to explain these otherwise incriminating circumstances. If he doesn’t, the NCAA can find him ineligible.

    All the NCAA needs to verify are the basic facts that have been reported.

  3. kingghidora - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Since when does the NCAA need facts to make a decision?

  4. wcc65 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    In Durham, we have found that it pays first to determine the facts before speculating about punishment. Things are not always what some of us imagine, free of facts.

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