Duke

Zion’s Duke shoes fetch big bucks in online auction. Is it a violation of NCAA rules?

A pair of Duke-issued Nike sneakers worn by All-American freshman Zion Williamson last season fetched nearly $20,000 on an online auction website over the weekend.

Goldin Auctions received nine bids on the size 15 Nike Kyrie 5 shoes, which a third-party memorabilia authenticator determined were worn during Duke’s 90-64 win over San Diego State at the Maui Invitational last Nov. 19.

The bidding started at $7,500 on July 8 and the auction ended Saturday night with the winning bid of $19,680, according to Goldin Auctions’ website. Goldin Auctions didn’t identify the seller or the bidders on the shoe auction. It’s unclear who sold the shoes or how they acquired them. An online message sent by The News & Observer to Goldin Auctions was not answered.

NCAA amateurism rules prohibit athletes from selling their school-issued gear. Players who violate the rule risk suspension or being ruled ineligible at the college level. Duke’s athletics department has a system in place to educate their athletes about NCAA rules pertaining to selling school-issued gear, according to a Duke spokesperson who didn’t want to be named because he wasn’t authorized to talk about the school’s compliance procedures.

The 6-7, 285-pound Williamson left Duke for the NBA last spring after one season, declaring his intention to forego his final three seasons of eligibility on April 15.

DukeSanDiegoStBasketball (5).JPG
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) slam-dunks over San Diego State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Maui Invitational, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Marco Garcia AP

Since Williamson is no longer a college athlete, Duke’s only potential NCAA problems would be if Williamson sold his shoes prior to the end of the basketball season. Duke’s season ended with a 32-6 record when it lost 68-67 to Michigan State in the NCAA tournament East region final on March 31.

According to the letter of authentication included with Williamson’s shoes on the auction site, MeiGray Group director of authentication and vintage Stu Oxenhorn verified in writing on June 19 that the shoes were worn by Williamson.

The shoes are black, with splashes of blue and have white soles with a white Nike swoosh symbol. They feature Duke’s blue “D” emblazoned on the back of the shoe. Photos from Duke’s game with San Diego State show Williamson wearing shoes with the same design.

The following day, when Duke beat Auburn 78-72 in the Maui Invitational semifinals, Williamson wore white Nike shoes.

A search of Goldin’s website and popular online auction site eBay revealed no other Williamson game-worn Duke items currently for sale.

After averaging 22.6 points, being named ACC player of the year and winning numerous national player of the year awards, Williamson was selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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