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

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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 NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne