Could “strict liability” apply to Duke over Lance Thomas?

Could the strict liability clause, as used in the case of Memphis and Derrick Rose, apply to Duke in the Lance Thomas case?

The Raleigh News and Observer brings up the “strict liability” clause in a Sunday article about Thomas, who is being sued over non-payment of $97,000 in jewelry the former Duke forward allegedly purchased while playing for the Blue Devils during the 2009-10 national championship season.

Both Duke and the NCAA say they are aware of the suit.

Laura Keely of the News and Observer reports that Duke could be subject to the same clause that caused Memphis to forfeit its 2008-09 season under John Calipari when Memphis reached the national title game before losing to Kansas.

An excerpt:

If Thomas received an extra benefit, it might not matter whether Duke knew of his purchase. In 2009, the NCAA ruled that Memphis had to vacate its 2008 season, including its Final Four appearance, because Derrick Rose was retroactively ruled ineligible for a fraudulent SAT score. The NCAA coined the term “strict liability” and concluded that it didn’t matter that Memphis didn’t know Rose was ineligible.

“The institution’s assertion that, prior to the start of the 2007-08 season, it did not have sufficient information to conclude that student-athlete 1’s SAT test would be cancelled was not relevant under the circumstances,” the NCAA wrote.

The “strict liability” ruling broke from the precedent established in the NCAA’s handling of former Duke player Corey Maggette, a member of the Blue Devils’ 1999 Final Four squad. Maggette left Duke for the NBA draft after that season. In 2000, after a federal grand jury indictment was released, Maggette admitted to receiving cash payments from Myron Piggie, a summer basketball coach, before arriving at Duke.

The NCAA investigated and ruled in 2004 that Duke did not and should not have known about the payments, so there was no punishment.

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Comments

  1. David says:

    If we stipulate that there’s no innocent reason for Thomas to have received the loan, it would seem the NCAA has a real mess on its hands (unless it’s comfortable being capricious and arbitrary.)

  2. Mark Liptak says:

    We’ll see how the NCAA handles this considering what they did in the wake of the North Carolina situation recently.

    Given how inconsistent that organization is, how they play favorites and don’t even follow their own rules every time, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if nothing happens.

    This is Coach K remember…the “paragon” (LOL) of all that’s good and proper in college sports. (Sarcasm implied…)

    But if they don’t do anything it will be interesting to read the blowback since I expect some national writers (not Pete Thamel of course…) like DeCourcey, Wetzel and Doyle to really go after that organization (as they have in the past…)

    Mark Liptak