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Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

While Zion Williamson's appeal was granted Thursday afternoon on a Florida judge's decision that he should answer questions regarding whether or not he accepted money and gifts to influence his decision to attend Duke, he may still eventually find himself under oath.

Why it matters: If the accusations are true, and Zion admits to them, he could be retroactively ruled ineligible for his lone season with the Blue Devils, and Mike Krzyzewski's program might never be looked at the same.

The backdrop: Days after declaring for last year's NBA draft, Williamson signed a five-year contract with Prime Sports, a marketing agency run by Gina Ford. A month later, he fired Ford and signed with Creative Artists Agency instead.

  • Ford sued Williamson for unlawfully breaking their contract, seeking $100 million in damages.
  • Then Williamson sued Ford, claiming the contract was invalid from the start due to violations of North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
  • Now, Ford believes that if she can prove Williamson's ineligibility, his case will be weakened and she'll have the upper hand.

The big picture: If the various accusations put forth by Ford, outlined here, are true — and Zion, his mother and stepfather accepted improper benefits from Nike, Adidas and Duke — everyone involved could be in hot water.

  • First, there's Zion. If the accusations are true, he must either admit to accepting improper benefits and greatly harm his legal case, or commit perjury by lying under oath.
  • Duke, meanwhile, has largely avoided recruiting scandals. If Williamson admits that he was paid, it could irreparably damage the program's credibility.

The bottom line: This is hardly the first time a college athlete has been accused of accepting money, and it won't be the last time, either. But there's a difference between everyone else, and Zion Williamson, arguably the biggest college hoops sensation of the 21st century.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

Black Friday in-store shopping up from 2020 but trails pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers carry their purchases during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont of Greater Chicago Area, Illinois on Nov. 26, 2021. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

More shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but online shopping was lower than expected, according to data from Friday.

Driving the news: Online shopping was on the lower end of what was expected, largely because people had been ringing up their shopping carts earlier in the year in an effort to skirt potential supply chain issues, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

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