Something strange is going on with Yale quarterback and Rhodes Scholar candidate Patrick Witt.
The QB made headlines in November when he passed up a critical interview at Emory University in Atlanta as one of 212 finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship in order to participate in "The Game," Yale's annual rivalry match-up with Harvard. The interview could not be made up and, in essence, he removed himself from consideration.
Sport reporters fawned over Witt and his team-first decision. And when Yale lost the game, Witt seemed at peace with choice, telling reporters "my decision wasn’t based on winning or losing this game."
However, according to the New York Times, that might not have been true and the whole story is a lot more sordid.
According to the Times, Witt's candidacy for the Rhodes Scholarship had been suspended days before his "decision" to play in the game due to accusations that Witt had sexually-assaulted a female student in September.
The accuser has never filed charges with police and is to this point anonymous. The allegations are based on sources and interviews that the Times conducted. There is no record of how Witt handled the allegations and if he even responded. Yale will not confirm or deny the allegations.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Witt has dropped off the map following the football season:
The quarterback, who is 22, is no longer enrolled at Yale, but he has not graduated. University officials would not explain his status, and Witt did not respond to messages left over several days on his cellphone, his Yale e-mail and his Facebook page.
The search into Witt's past also revealed two prior arrests, one for third-degree criminal trespass in 2010 and "obstructing government operations" when he used a false name to sign into a Nebraska dormitory while a student there. He also allegedly pushed and threatened a student official in the incident.
No word from Witt yet so it will be interesting to see how he and the University responds to all of this.
One can't help but draw parallels between Witt and athletes like Tim Tebow based on the fawning coverage he received during the Rhodes Scholar "decision," leaving those who praise public without question to wonder how safe it is to do so in the future. How well do you really know the public person you're discussing?