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Squeaky-clean Duke under NCAA scrutiny

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09:22 AM ET 09.09 | The Duke men's basketball team's squeaky-clean image has come under question, and its 2010 national title could be in danger, too. Former Blue Devils' forward Lance Thomas, a New Jersey product from St. Benedict's Prep who played for local AAU giant New Heights, is being sued for the balance of nearly $100,000 worth of jewelry purchased from a prestigious New York company in December 2009, according to the Associated Press. The case was filed in Dallas in January, but wasn't made public. Thomas, a starter on Duke's 2010 national championship team, reportedly made a $30,000 down payment on the purchase at Rafaello and Co., a New York firm known to cater to professional athletes. The question is whether the purchase violates NCAA rules and puts the Blue Devils' title in jeopardy. The AP reported there was an agreement between Thomas and Rafaello & Co. giving him credit to pay the remaining $67,800 within 15 days.NCAA spokesman Stacy Osburn told the AP the NCAA is speaking with Duke about the matter. NCAA rules prohibit athletes accepting benefits that aren't available to all students. Osburn said a violation comes down to whether "the general student body, or someone similarly situated, would be able to get the same benefit or treatment."

New York Post

Mike Krzyzewski, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Mike Krzyzewski, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Comment #1 has been removed
September 9, 2012  09:52 AM ET

Ruh roh.

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September 9, 2012  10:18 AM ET

What is it with athletes and jewelry? Grow the **** up you stupid jocks!! You'll be pawning that jewelry to pay bills in a couple of years, wishing you had taken that degree seriously.

GROW THE **** UP!!!!!

September 9, 2012  10:21 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

What is it with athletes and jewelry? Grow the **** up you stupid jocks!! You'll be pawning that jewelry to pay bills in a couple of years, wishing you had taken that degree seriously.GROW THE **** UP!!!!!

Public displays of wealth to impress the simpleminded.

September 9, 2012  10:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Public displays of wealth to impress the simpleminded.

Exactly. I never understood why athletes with a bright future choose to emulate rappers and thugs. Any fool can throw away money. It takes a bigger man to show restraint.

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September 9, 2012  11:22 AM ET

Just like at Penn State; if it looks a bit too perfect it probably is.

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September 9, 2012  12:21 PM ET

Where does the kid get the 30K down payment? I mean I know it is Duke, but still! Hard to pay off that balance as a journeyman in the D league!

September 9, 2012  12:44 PM ET

Ah, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

September 9, 2012  01:08 PM ET

I doubt anything serious will happen, Duke is one of the NCAA's favorite children.

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September 9, 2012  01:22 PM ET

For one, if Thomas played for 2010 national title team, where would he get $30,000 to make a down payment? Last time I checked, college students don't have that kind of cash. I would hate anything to happen (I love Coach K but hate Duke), but something sounds fishy here.

Comment #17 has been removed
September 9, 2012  01:47 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

What is it with athletes and jewelry? Grow the **** up you stupid jocks!! You'll be pawning that jewelry to pay bills in a couple of years, wishing you had taken that degree seriously.GROW THE **** UP!!!!!

Yep, hookers and blow is always the better choice.

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