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NCAA can punish Duke for Lance Thomas jewelry lawsuit

Former Duke basketball player Lance Thomas has agreed to a settlement with the jeweler suing him for defaulting on payments.

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Lance Thomas's jewelry purchase could hurt Duke

NCAA president Mark Emmert said Monday that Duke could be charged with rules violations even if none of the parties involved in the Lance Thomas jewelry lawsuit cooperate with the governing body's investigation.

"We certainly could deal with a case where we don't necessarily have cooperation from the actors, but we still have to rely on facts and rely on well-established information," Emmert said while making it clear he was speaking in general terms and not specifically about Duke's situation.

Emmert acknowledged that the NCAA's investigation would be more difficult without cooperation, but if its probe yields concrete evidence of malfeasance, it would feel justified in handing out sanctions.

Thomas spent nearly $100,000 on jewelry in a purchase in December of 2009. The matter became public when the jewelry store sued Thomas for failing to repay a line of credit. Neither he nor the jewelry store are under any obligation to talk to the NCAA about this matter.

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