Lance Thomas, the Duke forward from the 2010 National Championship team, has quickly settled a lawsuit with a jeweler whom he owed about $67,000, according to the News & Observer. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed. The real story here, though, is the money and the date: Thomas, while a senior at Duke, dropped $30k in cash on jewelery, and was able to convince the jeweler to give him a line of credit for $67k.
A) How was Lance Thomas – who according to reports does not come from a wealthy family; his mother worked at a Ford plant in New Jersey and nothing has been written about his father – able to come up with $30k? [Jeff Goodman might have an answer: His uncle Monty.]
B) What the NCAA look into it, or just hope some sports writers are able to uncover something?
Duke has sort of been down this road before. Remember Corey Maggette? Star in high school picked Duke, helped the Blue Devils get to the Final Four in 1999 (where their 32-game winning streak ended in the title game when Trajon Langdon struggled in the final :10 of a 77-74 loss to UConn). Later, it was revealed that Maggette took money in high school from an AAU coach named Myron Piggie. Maggette admitted to taking the money. Gary Parrish takes you back to what happened:
Less than a year later, a federal grand jury handed down an 11-count indictment of Piggie that details the payments to Maggette. Piggie cut a deal and admitted to making the payments; Maggette admitted to receiving the payments. So none of this falls under the he said/she said umbrella, and the NCAA’s Jane Jankowski was quoted in April 2000 as saying that the NCAA “will have to determine if Duke, in fact, had an ineligible player in the NCAA tournament. And, if so, what monies would have to be returned for use of an ineligible player.”
Nothing happened to Duke. The NCAA’s hilarious selective enforcement was on full display.
So what will the NCAA do this time? Before you answer, remember two things: 1) The NCAA profits handsomely from the NCAA tournament. More than 80 percent of the NCAA’s revenues come from the tourney. 2) Duke, is one of the most popular teams in college basketball, and a great TV staple in March.