Yale Harvard Football

Updated: Yale QB had Rhodes candidacy suspended because of sexual assault allegation


UPDATED 4:30 p.m. ET: Patrick Witt has broken his silence on the allegation that he sexually assaulted a fellow student and was reportedly suspended from Rhodes Scholarship candidacy.

Witt’s representative told the Associated Press Friday that his client’s candidacy from the scholarship was never suspended.  Witt’s representative went on to say that no formal complaint was ever filed against Witt — that holds true with the NYT report — and that the quarterback only learned of the allegation after he announced he would play in the rivalry game against Harvard.


If you’re a regular visitor to this here site, you know that we pretty much stick to 1-A football with occasional visits to our lower-level friends.

On such an occasion in November, we noted that Yale quarterback Patrick Witt had opted to skip his final interview for the Rhodes Scholarship at Emory University for the annual rivalry game against Harvard.

“So we can officially drop the term ‘student-athlete’, no?” I joked in my lede.

As it turns out, the story of Witt’s “withdrawal” from the Rhodes scholarship is no laughing matter. Although Witt’s academics certainly qualified him as a finalist for the Rhodes, a specific “off the field” activity reportedly did not. According to a New York Times story, Witt had his candidacy suspended by the Rhodes Trust after they learned in November from a non-Yale official that a fellow student had accused Witt of sexual assault.

The Rhodes Trust reportedly informed Yale they had a week to decide if they would continue to support Witt. On Nov. 13, Witt released a statement that he had “chosen” the Harvard game over an interview in Atlanta.

“I will be playing in the Yale-Harvard game this Saturday,” it said. “I have withdrawn my application for the Rhodes scholarship.”

Here is the NYT’s summary of the alleged incident:

In September, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a female student went to Yale’s Sexual Assault Harassment and Response and Education Center, claiming Witt had assaulted her in her dormitory room. The woman later made a complaint to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, created last July as part of Yale’s new approach.

Like many colleges and universities, Yale offers accusers a choice between making a formal complaint and an informal one. This student chose the informal process. In that process, an individual or a few members of the committee are charged with resolving the issue, without a full investigation or a finding of guilt or innocence. The most significant outcome might be an agreement to move the accused to a different dorm.

(With a formal complaint, there is a five-member hearing panel that hires an outsider to conduct an investigation and produce a written report recommending punishment up to expulsion.)

Connecticut law does not require colleges to report suspected sex offenses, and experts say the vast majority of campus sexual assaults are not reported, either to college authorities or to the police.

You can read the full story HERE.

Witt is no longer enrolled at Yale and is currently training for a possible career in the NFL. As one would expect, he hasn’t commented at all on the allegation.

Since the news of Witt’s decision came out in November, Yale has dealt with another Rhodes Scholarship gaffe. Last month, Yale’s football coach, Tom Williams, resigned in the wake of another NYT report that claimed the Rhodes Trust had no record of Williams’ application for the scholarship, even though Williams had it on his resume.

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Chip Kelly says he never met to discuss USC vacancy

Chip Kelly

Whether you chose to believe him or not, at least Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is officially on the record. During his regularly scheduled Monday press conference in Philadelphia, Kelly said he never met with anybody to discuss the previously vacant head coaching position at USC.

Alright then. So at least that’s that. (But what about his agent?)

USC filled the head coaching position this morning by officially announcing Clay Helton will remain the head coach after serving as the interim head coach following the dismissal of Steve Sarkisian earlier this season. Kelly, the former head coach at Oregon, has had his name attached to multiple coaching rumors at the college level since he left for the NFL, including Texas and Florida before this position at USC opened. Kelly has stood firm on his public statements about not having any interest in a college job, but that never seems to silence the fun hypothetical discussions about his probable eventual return to college football.

Houston and Tom Herman have agreement in principle on new contract

UH Coach Tom Herman
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As the coaching carousel continues to spin, it seems Tom Herman will rest comfortably in Houston for at least one more season. Herman reportedly has an agreement in principle on a new contract to remain the head coach of the Houston Cougars.

We’ve agreed in principle is the best way to put it,” Herman said Monday during a press conference. “We’re working out the details.”

It was previously reported Houston had approved a significant pay raise for the first-year head coach, going up to $3 million with the reworked contract and making it a financial incentive to stay put as job offers flowed in. The push to make Herman the highest-paid coach in the Group of Five, passing Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville ($2.2 million). With a solid foundation for future success, at least in the American Athletic Conference and Group of Five picture, Houston’s financial commitment to Herman is a sign the program is ready and able to work as close to a power conference program as possible.

Herman’s name will continue to be one to watch in future coaching rumors, and in this world we should never say never to the possibility of Herman still being in play for a job elsewhere in this cycle of coaching changes. If Herman and Houston continue to win games, there is no question his stock will remain a valued commodity for power conference programs in the years to come.

Herman and Houston will host Temple this Saturday afternoon in the first American Athletic Conference championship game. The winner will be a lock for receiving the New Years Six bowl spot reserved for the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion. Houston vs. Ohio State (Herman vs. Urban Meyer) is a real possibility in one of the New Years Six bowl games.

Not everybody seems happy about USC’s hiring of Clay Helton

Clay Helton

If there is one thing that can be said about USC hiring Clay Helton as head coach on a permanent basis, it is that it provides stability for the program moving forward. Current players have responded well to Helton. Future Trojans players are responding well to Helton on the recruiting trail. Former USC players? Well, that’s a different situation.

We saw some of this at Miami in recent years with former Hurricanes ripping now former head coach Al Golden. That was a bit of a different situation with Golden being a coach that went against the grain of all that was perceived to be representative of The U. Helton is different because he has been loyal to the program as an assistant coach during a turbulent time. He at least deserves respect of those following and those who have played for USC for that alone. The problem is Helton lacks the kind of appeal most wearing USC lenses expect from their coaching hire and it seems more likely to believe athletics director Pat Haden settled for Helton instead of being able to expand the coaching search and bring in a high-quality coach for the job.

There is one way to swing the emotions the other way for those unhappy with the decision. If USC beats Stanford to win the Pac-12 championship this week, that would be one step in the right direction for the Helton haters and the Haden skeptics (myself included). The pressure will be on more next season regardless of what happens this week in the Pac-12 championship game and whatever bowl game USC ends up playing. USC will be loaded with talent and will be a trendy pick to make a run in the Pac-12 and, perhaps, even the College Football Playoff.

USC names Clay Helton permanent head coach

Clay Helton

The top coaching vacancy in college football has been filled. USC has announced it will remove the interim tag from Clay Helton and make him the permanent head coach moving forward.

Helton has gone 5-2 since taking over the program following the dismissal of Steve Sarkisian as head coach. The most recent win this weekend against UCLA both snapped a three-game losing streak to the crosstown rival Bruins and clinched USC’s first trip to the Pac-12 championship game as Pac-12 South Division champions. Helton has been with the USC program since 2010 under various assistant roles. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2013 and named interim head coach that season following the firing of Lane Kiffin. He stayed on the staff following the hiring of Sarkisian from Washington.

Helton had become a clear player favorite in the program, as Helton calmed a troublesome environment of uncertainty in the middle fo the season and delivered a division championship. The only losses under Helton came on the road against Notre Dame in Helton’s first game as interim head coach and more recently at Oregon, a program that revived itself as well. If nothing else, Helton’s being named the head coach provides for some stability for the program, although there should be some questions moving forward whether it will be the right move or not in the long term. The USC job was thought to be the top job on the market and worthy of some high-caliber candidates. There had been rumblings USC reached out to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, a former Oregon coach of course, but the odds Kelly was going to leave the Eagles on his own a year after getting general manager power were always low.

USC will continue to bring plenty of pressure to win, and win big. Helton will continue to guide a roster packed with talent and getting back to full strength after a stretch of sanctioned seasons. If Helton does not win, he will quickly enter the hot seat conversation.

USC plays Stanford for the Pac-12 championship this week.