When you want to go to the Duke message boards on your favorite websites (hopefully this one) and opine or worse, worry about the Lance Thomas situation, by writing uninformed speculation and worst case scenarios, don’t do it; relax instead.
I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a reason to worry, far from it. Duke should be on alert, because this situation stands to be bad for the program. It won’t be the end of the world though.
We are talking about at most, a vacated national championship and about a half a season worth of wins. That admittedly is still bad, but it won’t go beyond that, and it won’t cripple the program since it isn’t some pervasive problem that has been going on for years, like say, an ongoing academic fraud at some other school.
Duke is looking into the problem and the NCAA is waiting to see what comes of this entire situation. Obviously if Thomas did do something wrong, which at this point there is only speculation that he did, then he will be punished and that punishment could effect the 2010 National Title.
It is unfortunately and unpleasant to think about, but what you don’t want to do as a fan is try to defend or make excuses for any actions that are deemed inappropriate or illegal. How many of us were calling for Miami to get the smack down from the NCAA last season after a booster came out and tossed the athletic program, namely the football and basketball teams, under a bus?
How many of us have been wringing our hands waiting for the NCAA to catch up with John Calipari and pin something major on him?
Some, more than others, may have openly been rooting for these things to happen, so don’t be all up in arms about others who are looking for a reason, and any reason will do, to try and see mighty Duke pulled down from its pedestal. That squeaky clean image that Duke has so long sought to protect, could end up a bit tarnished, but considering what some schools are doing these days, it isn’t all that bad.
Now that won’t stop the NCAA from throwing around some pentalites if it turns out that some wrong doing was commited. And guess what Duke fans, you shouldn’t complain about the thing that Thomas is accused of doing and how it relates to his eligibility, because it is the same thing some of us have complained about other programs doing.
I’m not a believer in double standards and Duke shouldn’t necessarily receive a pass or be given the benefit of the doubt because it is Duke and they do things the right way. Any program, clean or dirty is subject to the behavior of its players and the rules. So unless the NCAA absolves schools and programs from the wrong doings commited by the players and or coaches, the bad decisions made by those individulas will continue tol hurt those programs.
Just think about the entire Penn State case. Even though all the coaches and administrators involved were fired, jailed, or died, the program and school that is now comprised of kids and adults who had no knowledge or involvement, is paying the price.
That is just the way the NCAA works and it is just the way the rules are set up. It isn’t always fair and it doesn’t alway makes sense, but life isn’t always fair. I’m a Duke fan and have been for nearly all of my life and I certainly don’t want Duke to be stripped of wins, or worse a championship.
I don’t want to see one of my favorite teams in history see its entire season wiped out because a player allegedly purchased an obscene amount of jewelry with money that has come from sources as yet unknown.
But nothing is clear, nothing is certain and Thomas’s lawyers have gone as far as saying the whole issue is being blow out of proportion.
Perhaps it is, perhaps it is a misunderstanding, but one thing is certain; this will not have a quick resolution, so if you think this will be over in a manner of days or weeks, don’t hold your breath. I have a feeling that this, like most things when the NCAA gets involved, will drag on, and no matter what happens, not everyone will be happy.
Either Duke haters will claim Duke got a pass if nothing is discovered to have happened, or Duke fans will be up in arms because their beloved team got hit with punishment.
For now, the best thing to do is just relax, take in a Duke Football game (forget about last week), or peruse the newly released basketball schedule and dream about small forwards racing down the court for a fast break dunk or Rasheed Suliamon twinkling the twine. Because regardless of any future dark days, the fact is Duke Basketball will go on and fortunately won’t be hit with crippling sanctions.
It can always be worse, just ask Penn State.