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SHOULD DUKE LOSE its 2010 TITLE because a player got a loan for jewelry? OF COURSE NOT! AGAIN, NCAA SANCTIONS HURT INNOCENTS!

The big story is how a Duke player was given credit for about $63,000 in jewelry prior to or during the 2010 national championship season.  This article sums it up nicely!

According to court documents — not rumors but actual court documents, the kind of evidence the NCAA used to crush Penn State in July — Thomas made a $30,000 down payment on nearly $100,000 in jewelry in December 2009, when he was a senior on the Duke team. How did Thomas come up with the cash? Why would a merchant extend $67,800 in credit to an unemployed college senior? Nobody knows.

And nobody’s ever going to find out.

After the jewelry company sued Thomas for defaulting on the loan — hence the court documents — the two sides reached a settlement. The NCAA is interested in Thomas’ $30,000 down payment and $67,800 in financing, but the jewelry company says it won’t talk to the NCAA, and Thomas probably won’t, either.

That’s where we are on this. If this were almost any other school, that school would get hammered by the NCAA based on the court documents. You know it. I know it. Hell, Duke has to know it. A player on its team received a $67,800 loan while in school, suggesting he received that loan on the promise that he would pay it back after turning pro somewhere, whether in this country or abroad. That sort of financing might sound logical, but it’s a blatant NCAA violation. Allow college athletes to receive stuff based on their future earning potential, and you would have alums sweet-talking recruits onto campus by promising to “loan” cash or a car or even a house based on the recruit’s future earnings.

This is probably right.  I would be elated on one hand if Duke got hammered because morally (but not really) it could be argued that Butler actually was 2010 National Champ.  But we know Duke won it.  And I am well aware of the famous quote attributed to UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it’s going to give Cleveland State two more years’ probation.”

Pat Forde, a sports writer I respect tremendously, argues that the Shark is wrong.

I know this: If the NCAA were truly in the business of selective enforcement, the all-time cheaters docket would show a lot more of Cleveland State (just one major infractions case in any sport) and a lot less of Kentucky (six cases in all sports).

But one thing Forde cannot argue away:  If the NCAA took Duke’s title away (as it did UMass’s Final Four appearance, inter alia offenses) it would damage all those student athletes who did follow the rules.  I think both the NCAA (and the US Government, too) should review sanctions for their effect on innocents and try to avoid that sort of thing.  As much as I rooted for Butler, Duke won the tourney fair and square.  Yes I know there can be abuses of the benefit rule.  But the answer is probably more libertarian:  Disclosure and knowledge of these type of deals.  Gregg Doyel argued above in the first article cited that alums would abuse the rule to induce recruits to come to that school.  But the jeweler in Manhattan is not (as far as I know) a Duke alum and it was not given to induce this player to come to Duke.  The jewelry-gate also did not affect the player coming to Duke or his level of play.  So, it ought to be none of the NCAA’s business.  Don’t hurt the innocents.  Leave Duke alone.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “SHOULD DUKE LOSE its 2010 TITLE because a player got a loan for jewelry? OF COURSE NOT! AGAIN, NCAA SANCTIONS HURT INNOCENTS!”

  1. Jame Yell says:

    the famous quote that i really like is “its always darkest before the dawn”. in life there are things that gets worst first before it gets better.:

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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