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 CBSSports.com 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.