It’s a possibility.
Apparently, back in December of 2009, former Duke men’s basketball player Lance Thomas bought a TON of expensive jewelry from a New York firm (Rafaello & Co.) that caters to athletes and celebrities (like Carmelo Anthony and Jamie Foxx).
The custom-made jewelry cost close to $100,000 and Thomas put 25% down (which was around $30,000). He was expected to pay the rest off within 15 days. Apparently, he bought “a black diamond necklace, a diamond-encrusted watch, a pair of diamond studs, a diamond cross and a black diamond pendant in the shape of Jesus’ head.”
However, he has still yet to pay. The firm’s attorney said he has no idea how Thomas made the down payment or why he was extended credit.
What I don’t understand is why all of a sudden they are now coming to collect. The lawsuit was filed back in January, over two years later, in Texas (because that was where he was playing at the time). Is it because he’s now playing in the NBA? Supposedly, the firm has been trying to secure the payment, but has been unable to do so, thus resulting in the lawsuit.
Both Duke and the NCAA are aware of the situation and are in contact. Two key points could cost Duke their National Championship over Butler in 2010: where Thomas received $30,000 to make a down payment and if he used his athlete status to receive the extra time to pay off the rest.
If Thomas is ruled to have violated NCAA bylaw 16.01.3:
receiving a benefit “is not a violation if it is demonstrated that the same general benefit is available to the institution’s students, their relatives, and friends determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.”
Duke could be stripped of their title because he would be ruled ineligible if the NCAA believes he received an extra benefit. Thomas played in 40 games for Duke that season, including 35 minutes in their championship game win over Butler. He scored six points in their 61-59 victory.
After the ruling in 2009 in which Memphis had to vacate all of their victories in 2008 (including their Final Four appearance) because of star Derrick Rose’s fraudulent SAT score, college head coaches are being held more responsible for their programs.
This would be the university’s first black eye since the Duke lacrosse “rape” scandal.