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Thomas may cause Duke to vacate wins and the national championship after accepting a benefit of five pieces of jewelry

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Former Duke basketball player Lance Thomas is being sued by New York based company.

Lance Thomas (Getty Images)

Thomas is being sued over five pieces of jewelry that has a value of $97,800. He received this jewelry while he was a member of the Duke basketball team.

Rafaello & Company argue that they gave Thomas a line of credit of $67,800 in order for Thomas to purchase the jewelry. He paid a $30,000 down payment, as he was required to do so.

However, the company is claiming that he did not pay the request of the balance owed. If a contract does exist, it is very likely that the company would win a breach of contract.

This brings into a bigger question: did Thomas cause an NCAA violation by receiving a large benefit from the jewelry company? It is very likely that Thomas did not have $30,000 sitting in a back account since most college students are broke, even those on a scholarship, like Thomas was at the time.

The NCAA Bylaw 12.3.1.2 says that an individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she accepts transportation or other benefits from his relatives or friends, or agents, even when they have no interest in representing the student-athlete.

Thus, if Thomas did receive the $30,000 from an agent, he would be ruled ineligible at Duke from the time he received the benefit. And Duke would likely have to vacate wins, as well, for using an ineligible player.

He played 39 games during the 2009-10 season and the transaction reportedly took place on December 21st, 2009. If the NCAA rules that Thomas received the $30,000 from an agent, then Duke would lose all the games from December 21st on. Duke would also have to vacate the national championship that they won from that season, as well.

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