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 “I have withdrawn my application for the Rhodes scholarship.”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.