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Duke and Lance Thomas cleared of wrongdoing in jewelry case by the NCAA

Apr 30, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

Former Duke forward Lance Thomas, who purchased almost $100,000 worth of jewelry during the Blue Devils championship season in 2010 was cleared of all wrongdoing, along with the university, by the NCAA on Tuesday.

The News & Observer first reported the news:

“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,” said a university statement released by associate athletic director Jon Jackson.

A lawsuit made public in September brought attention to Thomas’s Dec. 21, 2009 purchase of $97,800 worth of custom jewelry from Manhattan-based Rafaello and Co. Thomas, home on winter break midway through his senior year at Duke, made a $30,000 down payment and signed a purchase agreement to pay the remaining balance within 15 days. He defaulted on the payment, and the jeweler filed a lawsuit in January 2012 for the outstanding balance. Thomas and Rafaello and Co. settled the lawsuit on Sept. 18. Terms were confidential.

This will likely be considered by many (and who can blame them) as another controversial ruling by the NCAA given Duke’s prowess in college basketball. But as Laura Keeley pointed out pursuing an investigation was made difficult by both the jeweler’s and Thomas’ refusal to speak with the NCAA.

Mike Krzyzewski, who said the school would cooperate fully with the NCAA, only spoke once on the issue back in October.

Thomas recently wrapped up his second NBA season with the New Orleans Hornets, averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 59 appearances for the Hornets.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

  1. melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Uh, it’s Duke, did anyone expect a guilty finding?

  2. imforbigblue - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Lol Yeah if you say dUKe or UNC you know the NCAA won’t do shit. If that would of been UK it would of been over

  3. xli2006 - May 1, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    What?!? Really, no evidence of wrongdoing when a player in college somehow has 30K to spend on jewelry?

    Cory Maggette already acknowledged he received benefits from Duke in the late 90s but the NCAA swept that aside and it appears to be doing the same here.

    The NCAA continues it’s never ending debacle handling these cases which basically leaves the door wide open for continued under the table benefits.

    Report after report on UK gets wiped away, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has been a hot topic over the last few years, Duke’s Coach K has been the subject of dozens of articles alleging a “dark side” behind the facade of a top notch program.

    Enough already NCAA, wake the ____ up!

  4. kentakka - May 1, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I’m sure the NCAA made the right decision here. I’m sure I could walk in that same jewelry shop as a non-athletic student of Duke University without so much as a job or credit, and get a $70,000 line of credit.

    Take note athletes. Duke is definitely the school to go to if you want to get preferential treatment and not be punished.

  5. fatediesel - May 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    The NCAA has no subpoena power and neither Lance Thomas or the jewelry store would talk to them. There’s no way they could get any proof of wrongdoing.

  6. da1dub - May 3, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    if there’s no story there’s no story

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