After an investigation which took almost six months, the NCAA has found no evidence of NCAA violations in the case which questioned how Lance Thomas purchased almost $100,000 worth of jewelry including a $30,000 down payment during his final season at Duke.
“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.
But the available information was hampered by the limits of NCAA investigative power:
Both the jeweler and Thomas refused to speak with the NCAA, making a potential investigation difficult. The NCAA does not have subpoena power and cannot force former student-athletes or third parties to talk. Thomas, now with the New Orleans Hornets, did not return a call for comment.
Without being able to interview either Thomas or the jeweler, the NCAA was left with few proven facts in the case, namely that Thomas has $30,000 for a down payment and was given a loan for another $60,000. Without more, the NCAA is just making leaps and assumptions. Not surprising that the NCAA could not do much here.
What is interesting is that Thomas changed his mind about talking to the NCAA. The jeweler consistently said he was not interested in cooperating with an NCAA investigation. But Thomas said he was planning on talking to the NCAA after some “legal details” were sorted out. Why that did not happen is anyone’s guess.