Patrick Witt got a lot of attention this week for turning down an interview to be a Rhodes Scholar. Naturally, he made the right decision. The Yale senior had the chance to quarterback the Bulldogs against arch-rival Harvard Crimson this weekend. While you can reapply for the UK's prestigious scholarship, it's not every day you get to play in "The Game" (otherwise known to non-Ivy League college sports fans as a mere blip on the fall football radar).
Also making headlines was Witt's mentor. Two decade ago, Tom Williams, Yale's head football coach, chose between playing for a shot at the NFL or interviewing for the Rhodes. He told national news media that he chose the San Francisco 49ers over academics. His experience, he said, allowed him to provide Witt with some much-needed sympahy and wisdom.
But it turns out, this might not be exactly true.
The New York Times reported this week that the Rhodes Trust has no record of Williams' application. Now Williams is walking his statements back, saying that he didn't interview but applied, then saying he didn't apply but withdrew the application. And now the lawyers are getting into the mess.
President Richard Levin said Yale's general counsel will conduct "a review of the facts surrounding Tom Williams’ assertions about being a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship.”
The focus of scrutiny appears to be whether Williams received an endorsement from Stanford University, his alma mater, and when. The Hartford Courant pointed out that the debate over Williams' resume comes after the former head coach of Notre Dame resigned in 2001 after revelations that he exaggerated his credentials.
"There is no intention to deceive," Williams told the AP. "I never said I was a finalist for the Rhodes candidacy. The Rhodes shouldn't have any record of me, because I didn't do it. I didn't go through the process. I pulled out long before it got to that point."