The Rhodes Trust has revealed its side of the messy Patrick J. Witt affair, in which the star quarterback of the Yale Bulldogs withdrew his application for a Rhodes scholarship amidst allegations of sexual assault. A representative of the Trust has issued a statement to The New York Times, which had broken the sexual assault story, in which he confirmed that it was they who had suspended Witt's candidacy upon learning of the complaint filed by a fellow student against him.
Trust officials informed Yale by Nov. 4 that Witt would be dropped from consideration unless the school re-endorsed him in writing by Nov. 15. When Nov. 13 arrived and no endorsement had been issued, Witt made the announcement that he would withdraw himself from Rhodes consideration, presented in such a way so as to appear as if he had chosen to play in the big game against Harvard (which the Bulldogs eventually lost) over his own academic advancement.
Witt, who is 22 and being groomed for a N.F.L. draft, has insisted all along that the decision came independently:
Witt and his agent, Mark F. Magazu II, have insisted to The Times and other news organizations that his Rhodes application was never suspended, as The Times reported, and that, in any case, he had decided to withdraw from the competition before he was told, on Nov. 9 or 10, that the allegation had obligated Yale to formally re-endorse him.
“It was essentially a moot point,” Witt said in an interview with The Yale Daily News published Wednesday.
But Rhodes' and Yale's account contradict that, saying Witt was informed on Nov. 8 of the need for re-endorsement. The victim, the Times reports, remains anonymous, having resolved her complaint through an "informal process," as Yale puts it, that involved "mediation rather than an investigation," and results in no findings of "guilt or innocence, a punishment or any disciplinary record.