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The Lance Thomas Case: a Catch-22 for the NCAA?

Last Friday, news broke about former Duke player Lance Thomas’ defaulted loan for almost $100,000 worth of bling back in 2009. On the day he bought the jewels (a black diamond necklace, a diamond-encrusted watch, a diamond cross, diamond earrings, and a black diamond pendant in the shape of Jesus’ head), Thomas made a $30,000 down payment and signed an agreement to pay the remaining $67,300 balance within fifteen days. Almost three years later, the loan has not been repaid, which gives the NCAA fifteen more months to take action until the four-year statute of limitations expires. The problem? No one’s talking.

Lance Thomas certainly isn’t talking, which is expected. He’s no longer a Duke student, and therefore has no obligation to the NCAA. The only other party that can give the NCAA the evidence it needs to take action is the jeweler, who has refused to talk to the NCAA because the lawsuit is still ongoing. Laura Keely of the Raleigh News Observer interviewed NCAA compliance expert John Infante about the issue, which he says could be a catch-22 if the jeweler stays quiet:

“If everybody keeps their mouth shut and everybody refuses to talk to the NCAA, and by everybody I mean Thomas and the jeweler and whoever might have provided him this $30,000 if it did come from someone else, then there’s not much the NCAA can do if they don’t get information.”

The jeweler has no reason to talk to the NCAA. They just want their money, which, in order to keep the 2010 NCAA Championship banner up in Cameron, I’m willing to bet someone in Durham will take care of. To begin an investigation, the NCAA must send Duke a notice of allegations, but they must have legitimate evidence to support it. So, as long as Thomas and the jeweler stay quiet (and they have every reason to), the NCAA’s hands are tied. So, Thomas and Duke, may very well get off scot free.

Frustrating doesn’t even cover it.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

65 Comments for The Lance Thomas Case: a Catch-22 for the NCAA?

  1. Chicago Chris
    11:20 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I almost sounds like Keely’s winking when she says that.

  2. LogicalCat
    11:23 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    This will give the NCAA the excuse they need not to hammer dUKe. How convient

  3. Brad
    11:23 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    At the very least, the NCAA does have enough to get them. We all know that he was given a loan or credit voucher by the store to cover the balance of the expense of the bling. This alone is a large NCAA infraction as this is not permitted from what I’ve heard thus far.

  4. SexnNursinHomes
    11:23 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Glad John Infante basically told Duke the plan on how to evade the NCAA. Well Done Infante, Well Done…

  5. SexnNursinHomes
    11:25 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    meh, it’s not like the NCAA is going to do much an investigation. They’ll just look around the shrubs and bushes at NCAA HQ in Indy.

  6. jpgott2
    11:26 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    What I love is that t seems like the NCAA is telling Lance and the Jeweler what to do. The NCAA is instructing them to be quiet, so it can be pushed under the rug.

  7. Juan4UK
    11:26 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    It won’t matter. A Duke booster will pay this off in no time and then everybody will shut up and that will be that. Jeweler gets paid problem goes away and the NCAA will have no case to investigate (with any teeth).

  8. Rick
    11:26 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    “No snitchin’,” the proud motto of prisoners and Duke University.

  9. Derrick Rose
    11:27 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I didn’t talk to the NCAA either. We still got vacated though.

  10. Juan4UK
    11:27 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    That’s all it was, is to create someone from Duke to pay the damn bill. This is the threat of pressure.

  11. TheDecker
    11:27 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    A college kid, $30,000 down payment, $70,000 loan…A reasonable person would conclude this is not right. NCAA should start an investigation and the burden of proof should be on Thomas and Duke. If there isn’t any skeletons in the closet then they should have nothing to hide.

  12. Brad
    11:28 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Ya think we can stop rooting for other schools to receive NCAA sanctions?

  13. I_smell_hypocrisy
    11:28 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Too bad Thamel’s busy stalking high school kids or we’d have this one wrapped up already. Yo Pete, change into clean underwear and do some real work.

  14. Memphis Blues Again
    11:30 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    NCAA, what is your reason for existence? To quote Hannibal Lecter “look at yourself”

  15. kentuckyjoe
    11:31 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    From what I’ve read; #3 is right. All that has to be done for an infraction to have been deemed is that Thomas secured a huge loan. The collateral almost had to be future predicted earnings. While that isn’t necessarily true it is a likely scenario. And that is an infraction.

    Now, that being said, I would think that a lot of amateur ballers have gotten similar loans. Some in amounts more, and some less. And, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our own ballers have gotten such loans. I personally say; let this sleeping dog lie. The sooner this thing goes away the better. And if Duke keeps it’s title; fine. They earned it.

  16. Mr Saturday Pants
    11:32 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Never quote Hannibal Lecter. He might hear you.

  17. Another Perspective
    11:37 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Derrick Rose refused to talk, too. They declared him retroactively ineligible.

  18. rmorgan2112
    11:38 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think Derrick Rose spoke to the NCAA and I think implied his not cooperating was considered an admission of guilt.

  19. asdf
    11:38 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing how the NCAA finds new ways to expand it’s authority when any school besides Duke and UNC are involved in a scandal, but when it’s those two, they find new and creative ways to be less powerful so they can claim “there’s nothing we can do!”.

  20. NCAA
    11:38 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Actually, we feel as though its a catch-nothing. Nothing to see here, move along. Duke has life-long immunity.

  21. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    11:39 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    UK fans should unite and pay the jeweler on the condition that he spills his guts to the NCAA.

  22. Hokey Pete
    11:40 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    So does that mean a UK booster can give Andrew Wiggins $50,000 to go to UK (hypothetically speaking, of course), and as long as neither the booster nor Wiggins talks, the NCAA can’t do anything about it? Sounds good to me. What are we waiting for?

  23. Bojangles
    11:42 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Why is this “frustrating”? Who cares about this cat, his jewelry loans, and whether or not it violated NCAA infractions? Whether this 2010 banner stays or not will have no effect on UK athletics. Must our fans always be the “lil’ stinkers” that wish ill will on others?

  24. Get over it
    11:43 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I agree Brad! This is a joke that we even care. Why would we feel better that Duke has the banner removed. We don’t get the banner, and no one cares anyway….as people say, the games were played….Duke won them….and the NCAA can’t go back and erase those memories… utler is the only team who should even care a little.2010 is old news…I barely care about 2012…..let’s move to 2013 and get over it.

  25. NotOverNCAABias
    11:46 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    23 and 24 we care because we know if this had happened at UK our banner would be gone. We care about equal treatment, not about Duke’s banner or their memories.

  26. Joe Smow
    11:53 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    It matters because they lie of the “student-athletic” is being exposed. Players are being paid large sums on money to play at some universities, yet the NCAA, which runs a billion tournament with said paid athletics, it treated as a non-profit organization. I wish the IRS would get involved and start taxing the NCAA.

  27. Han
    11:58 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Derrick Rose kept quiet when they wanted to confirm his SAT score. Didn’t keep Memphis from vacating.

    NCAA does what it wants.

    24) The point is that we’re tired of rival fans constantly attacking our program and coach as cheaters, and we’re tired of our program being slandered every time there’s a rumor, not just by rival fans, but by national sports media. We’d like those supposedly better programs to be held under the same microscope, especially when they’re actually caught doing the stuff we’re accused of all the time.

  28. 10011010110
    11:59 am September 11, 2012 Permalink

    UNC and Duke get caught violating the NCAA’s Rule book.

    NCAA claims its powerless to punish them.

    Got it.

  29. UKBlue1!
    12:04 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Look out! NW Tech or State A&M. The NCAA is mad because UNC and Duke are cheating. Its time to bring the hammer down on some small school.What evidence are they waiting on? There is a college kid putting 30k down on a 100k peice of jewlry? There is your evidence.

  30. UPSCat4080
    12:07 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    How in the heck is this different from the Rose case? Eventually the NCAA declared him ineligible because he failed to comply with the case. He was no longer a student at Memphis yet the NCAA used his non compliance against him. How is this any different then this case?

  31. Bojangles
    12:12 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    “waa waa waa. UK gets treated unfairly. Everyone hates us. Blah Blah Blah.” Get it together, fellow fans. Yeesh.

    12:20 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with “get over it”, who gives a damn?!?! I hate Duke but I could care less if they lose their championship, let em’ keep it, they did win the games regardless! GO CATS!

  33. MustangCat
    12:21 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Duke has gotten away with this stuff before. See Corey Maggette scandal, for one. The NCAA has more then enough evidence to nail them to the wall. Since when did they need actual PROOF??? But, they have to protect what’s left of their “integrity”, right?!?! Ha ha, that’s a joke….

  34. Will S
    12:28 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    The jeweler isn’t going to talk. By talking, they jeopardize the ongoing lawsuit, become “snitches” to the professional (and amateur?) athletes they cater to, and pretty much assure themselves of not getting the 67K they’re owed. Duke and Lance Thomas won’t (shouldn’t) talk either. Why would they? They have no obligation to, and I’m sure Duke’s team of lawyers is all over that. This will be brushed under the rug, which is what the NCAA wants. When they NCAA said Derrick Rose’s fraudulent SAT scores mattered, but Darrell Arthur’s questionable transcript didn’t– they basically said Champions are off limits. I don’t see anything different playing out here. Definitely a dumb move by Lance though, if he did in fact accept improper benefits.

  35. Bluegrass
    12:32 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    The moral of the story is and always has been – win the title and worry about nothing. Just don’t ever be the runner up or worse. Just win baby win!

  36. Al's IndiCats
    12:34 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with those who said it’s ok as long as it’s UNC or Duke. However, this is national news, and yet the Pete Thamels of the world are going to Turkey to find out how much a UK recruit made while he played “sparingly for a team in his native country I think it was to the amout of $33,000.00, and yet A former Duke player can put down $30,000 on some jewelry, keep his mouth shut and nothing is done……Good Job NCAA, you never cease to amaze!

  37. UKMike
    12:34 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    tip of the iceberg. what college kid makes a “down payment” of $30K on jewelry of all things? and still owes $70K? there must be a pile of money behind this story.

    Let’s have a level playing field. if there’s an infraction, expose it and deal with it irrespective of the perceived prestige of the school.

  38. Raazoul
    12:46 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    You guys are wrong about the NCAA having enough to get them. The rule is that an athlete can’t get a loan based on his future earnings. To establish that they need the jeweler to confirm it or else it’s just a loan. You’re allowed to give stupid loans.
    Plus, the “Duke Booster” has already paid off the Jeweler. Just ask yourself, why would this jeweler, who is suing Thomas over payment, protect Thomas and Duke? If it were me i’d say “This kid said his agent promised him an NBA job and the money will be there” Unless of course I was paid off what i’m owed plus some.

  39. Raazoul
    12:48 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    The moral of the story is, SNITCHES GET STICHES! Keep your mouth shut and you won’t get in trouble.

  40. Troy
    12:57 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    FREE ENIS !!!!!!!!!!

    F***ING NCAA ASS BAG !!!!!!!!!!

  41. Choo
    1:02 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Most lawsuits like this have the note, contract, or whatever Thomas signed promising to pay the $67k, attached to the initial Complaint. Someone should be able to get a copy of that and then it doesn’t matter who talks or doesn’t talk.

  42. Big Blue Coming at You
    1:03 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    31. If you’re not interested in it then you don’t have to read and respond to it. It’s that simple. You can go about your life and not care about it. Other people are tired of the double standard and hypocrisy that is the NCAA. When UNC and a Duke player blatantly break rules the NCAA looks the other way. But they watch UK and Cal like a hawk.

  43. Carl
    1:08 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Rose didn’t have to talk, the SAT board decided his scores were not legit which made his college entry not legit which made him ineligible. With that said, what does it say about the NCAA when Duke uses ineligible players to win two national championships and does not get punished either time.

    Is there a more bogus institution in the USA?

  44. Will S
    1:20 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    43) Maggette was never a part of a Duke national championship team. And there’s still no proof that Lance Thomas didn’t take out a high interest personal loan, receive family assistance, an inheritance, etc. Jumping to conclusions is never a great idea. The SAT board investigated Rose, there is no one to investigate Lance Thomas other than the prosecutor, who has no reason to — if they get their money.

    I’m not blind. I’m about 90% LT did something wrong, but there is no proof as of right now. Just assumptions.

  45. Musehobo
    1:23 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    A few points.

    1. I don’t want other schools to get in trouble, but if they’ve done something wrong, I want to see them be penalized. Furthermore, I want consistency from the NCAA (never going to happen).

    2. The NCAA did NOTHING about the Maggette case. It was just like “Nah, it’s cool brah. You’re Duke. we got ya”. It’s definitely not gonna do anything when they have a way out of it.

    3. Why does the NCAA feel like the CIA? Who determines what amount of money is reasonable to have? Yes, 30,000 is a lot. But, if they can investigate purely because a number is “high”, who’s to stop them from digging for small numbers? I don’t like the idea of the NCAA constantly overreaching their bounds.

  46. Get over it
    1:23 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t like the double standard, who does. But I have learned in life, everyone likes to see the crybaby get burned. We (since I am a UK fan), are being the crybaby here. Quit whining and take care of our business. That is how you get by in life….worry about yourself…Let the national media worry about this….but this “he hit me”, and “its not fair”, and “mom likes you better” attitudes are a complete joke! F*ing hit em back where it hurts (winning a national champinship) and GET OVER IT!

  47. ToothLessIn'aTrailer
    1:47 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink


  48. jt
    1:48 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    All you that say quit crying and get over it, would you yourself stop crying if it happened to UK and they took #8 from us? No, you’d be complaining saying DUKE and UNC got away with it but why do they punish us. You’d be pissed off about it

  49. John Ellis
    1:53 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    How many more maggots are there under the Duke rock?

  50. John Ellis
    1:54 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    To this day they don’t and didn’t have proof on the Rose matter, but stripped Memphis anyway.

  51. Dave in Bangkok
    2:05 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    F*CK DUKE!!!

    F*CK THE NCAA!!!

  52. Uh Yeah But...
    2:17 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    46 So you’re whining and crying about us whining and crying? “Let the national media worry about this” – problem is, they aren’t worried about it. But if it were UK they sure would be. Yeah I hear you about the whining but this site is free to talk about whatever it wants and people are free to share their opinion. Clearly it works bc this story is getting more comments than the other stories posted today (besides show thread). The more you b*tch about us b*tching, this story is winning.

  53. LouisvilleFan
    2:20 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    yo dawgs yall foolz be needin to stop cryin bout dis. do whut we Card fanz do when we mad, by some Old E and a blunt. your stoopid.

  54. Memphis Blues Again
    2:26 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    16-you’re right, that’s too risky, but I might be safe as I misquoted. The words were from Agent Sparrow, not from the not to be named one. But “meanwhile I was still thinking” “aw momma can this really be the end?” for the Duke title? Hope not, the NCAA now brings you the rules in “The Most Ridiculous Way Possible”. Pray for sanity in college sports – it should be for the kids, not against them.

  55. JEREMY
    3:14 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t that what D. Rose did in the Memphis case and they still threw the book at Memphis?

  56. 'dre day
    3:18 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    thoughts —

    (1) the extension of 70k credit is in clear violation of’s extra benefits prohibition because this credit line was extended without charge or at a reduced cost. Remember the terms of the original loan agreement: 30k upfront, 70k payable within 15 days. WHY did a jeweler think that Thomas, an undrafted player even after winning the 2010 title, think in December 2009 that Thomas would make good on $70,000 within the stipulated period ?? WE ARE TALKING 15 DAYS. If basketball factored into this, they give the ‘ship back

    (2) is the website of the jeweler and offers some HD pictures of the high end diamond merchandise and their high end clients. Duke’s argument is that they were not complicit. But this is a non-argument. Who cares if they didn’t know, they should have known. They were blind to the sparkle of a 100k worth of diamond jewelry and therefore don’t deserve the 2010 rings.

    (3) But seriously though, why does the NCAA exist?

  57. NYC_Cat
    3:28 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    This 70k+ loan seems as bad as a lot of other infractions like any agent cashing in on the future potential of a player. The jeweler was cashing in (simply by ringing up a 100k sale) much in the the same way. If it doesn’t turn out to be deemed improper by the “2A”, then Tark was right – they are corrupt.

    This is worse than 1k in a Fedex-er….

  58. JustSayin
    3:30 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone knows how this would be handled if it were UK. Just look at the Kanter case in that every single detail of his case was construed in the most harsh manner by the NCAA and no benefit of the doubt. His dad got the checks and not Kanter, so what. Living expenses much higher in Istanbull as compared to everywhere else, so what. Still had the educational money sitting in account, so what.

  59. Will S
    4:49 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    People in California making 25K/year were approved for mortgages on 700K houses (the housing crisis). “Benefits not available to the normal student” is a very subjective term. Most of Duke’s students are children of extremely wealthy people. Most students do have access to 30K and would easily be approved for a 67K loan, considering the average Duke graduate makes about 200K/year. Not to mention, the buzz in the Triagle is that he has a wealthy uncle that gave him the money. It’s on the latest article– his Uncle owns a business and has always provided for him.

  60. Big J
    5:55 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Unbelievable! Someone needs investigate the NCAA and it’s corrupt biased staff.

  61. theSkinny81
    6:22 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    59 – keep diggin’, homeboy. your Dookies have been exposed….

  62. Dane Brammage
    7:09 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Lance Thomas’ jewelery purchase, as a dookie, was his American Expression – under Coach K-ommercial.

    dook has always cheated.

    They ‘just do it’ smarter than the average bear, er cardinal, er tar heel.

  63. Garmaster
    10:18 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink…/ps-pr?i...
    Mar 12, 2012 — Duke’s typical graduate salary is $97,600/year. … today unveiled its Fifth Annual Salary Madness brackets. … March Madness brackets by typical salaries of graduates …

  64. bluekel
    10:19 pm September 11, 2012 Permalink

    Why cannot they just handle it like the Memphis thing. Send a letter to the player, follow-up with another letter. If he doesn’t reply, assume guilt like they did with Rose. Boom, strip the title.

  65. JEREMY
    9:10 am September 12, 2012 Permalink

    #64 I couldn’t agree with you more. In the Memphis case D. Rose refused to talk with the ncaa. So the ncaa said, if you don’t talk we will just vacate your season. Will the same be done here? No, just like its always done at the ncaa’s lil darling schools! I understand the bias the ncaa has for these schools, I just don’t understand why the media hasn’t done more with it?