It’s no secret what I think or most Kentucky Wildcats fans think about the NCAA. It’s a bloated, ineffective, inconsistent CORPORATION that makes way too much money off it’s members and seemingly does not have a clue how to govern its members or how to dole out discipline. And apparently, as we have seen lately, it is easier than ever to beat a NCAA investigation. Just don’t talk to them. And POOF. Your case goes away.
It’s so simplistic and childish a approach. Yet it apparently works.
It worked for the Duke Blue Devils and Lance Thomas. While a member of the 2010 National Champion Blue Devils, Thomas made a down payment of $30,000 cash to a Manhattan jeweler and received a total of $97,800 of custom jewelry. The balance was to be paid in 15 days. That never happened and this story came to light when the jeweler filed suit against Thomas. A NCAA investigation was launched and what should have been a slam dunk case against Duke went away … because neither Thomas or the jeweler would not talk to the NCAA.
So many questions went unanswered. Where does a college senior get $30,000 of walking around money? Where would the remaining $67,000 come from? Despite not getting these answers, the NCAA meekly retreated and closed their investigation.
Duke reported the lawsuit to the NCAA when it came to light in case there was a rules violation. Athletes are in violation of NCAA bylaw 16.01.3 if they receive extra benefits – such as loans based on future earnings potential – based on their athletic status. Any such benefit would be considered an “extra benefit” and put Thomas’ eligibility in jeopardy.
Duke went on to win the program’s fourth national championship at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Both the jeweler and Thomas refused to speak with the NCAA, making a potential investigation difficult. The NCAA does not have subpoena power and cannot force former student-athletes or third parties to talk. Thomas, now with the New Orleans Pelicans, did not return a call for comment.
I am not a conspiracy theorist, but in all reality, Duke should have two of their national titles vacated at this point. How can you forget the clear cut case against Corey Maggette?
A summer basketball coach named Myron Piggie made cash payments to Maggette when the elite recruit was still in high school, and that money came from a revenue pool that included donations from at least two sports agents.
Connect the dots, and it’s clear Maggette benefited from money supplied by agents, meaning his amateur status was compromised. Still, none of this was public knowledge at the time. So the NCAA cleared Maggette to play at Duke, and he helped the Blue Devils reach the 1999 Final Four before entering the 1999 NBA Draft.
Less than a year later, a federal grand jury handed down an 11-count indictment of Piggie that details the payments to Maggette. Piggie cut a deal and admitted to making the payments; Maggette admitted to receiving the payments. So none of this falls under the he said/she said umbrella, and the NCAA’s Jane Jankowski was quoted in April 2000 as saying that the NCAA “will have to determine if Duke, in fact, had an ineligible player in the NCAA tournament. And, if so, what monies would have to be returned for use of an ineligible player.”
Fast-forward nine years, and no money has been returned. The banner still flies.
Make that 12 years. Of course, the Maggette case is different from Thomas. Maggette actually admitted the extra benefits.
I would not advise any athlete that receives extra benefits to talk about it though. Why be open when shutting your mouth will get you off scott- free?
At least, that is what some people think.