Pete Thamel likes to fashion himself as an NCAA watchdog of sorts. The New York Times reporter did win a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering“diploma mills” that distributed grades to elite high school athletes. He views himself as a knight in shining armor that defends the integrity of the NCAA’s “academics before athletics” battle cry as well as protecting the student athlete that majors in something other than sports.
Thanks to Pete Thamel, we can all sleep a little easier at night. He is the good that battles the evils of cheating, lying, fraud, scandal and abuse of power. We can also rest a little easier because we know that he is hard at work uncovering the recent scandals that have wracked North Carolina, Oregon and Miami, among others.
But none of that’s true. Thamel isn’t looking into any of those programs despite the fact that there is something serious and wrong going on at each school. Petey boy is too busy worrying about a poverty stricken high school kid’s algebra grade. He is hard at work knocking on the door of a player’s mother’s home in Alabama, trying to find anything to get him into trouble with the NCAA. He is spending his time in Turkey interviewing the Turkish prime minister and the head coach of the Turkish national basketball team. And most recently, he is trying to find anything and everything to derail the number one high school basketball player in the country from going to college.
What do all of these scenarios have in common? Pete’s Great White Whale: The University of Kentucky.