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Does the NCAA Need Lance Thomas to Punish Duke?

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Duke fans with the Lance Thomas case. The news that the jeweler did not want to talk to the NCAA was a big plus. The news yesterday that Thomas planned to talk to the NCAA was a downer, although tempered by Thomas’ confidence that he did not commit a violation. But NCAA President Mark Emmert’s comments to Gary Parrish are clearly not good for Duke:

“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.

Emmert talked about the frustration of the public, who sees potential violations reported that the NCAA cannot ultimately verify. The frustration here is the question of what more needs to be verified. There is a big cash payment and a loan by a jeweler who specializes in the professional athlete market to a student-athlete. There are plenty of people asking what more does the NCAA need?

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