Rhodes provides timeline of Witt’s ’12 candidacy

On Friday, the Rhodes Trust provided its account of how Patrick Witt’s ’12 candidacy for the Rhodes Scholarship ended.

According to the Rhodes’ statement, which University Spokesman Tom Conroy confirmed as accurate on Sunday, Yale told the Trust that Witt learned on Nov. 8 that his candidacy would require re-endorsement in light of a complaint lodged against him. But Witt told the News last Wednesday that he learned of his need for re-endorsement on either the evening of Nov. 9 or morning of Nov. 10 in a phone call with Katherine Dailinger, Yale’s director for national fellowships. Since the Rhodes released its conflicting report, Witt’s spokesman, Mark Magazu, has said Witt stands by his timeline.

Despite the discrepancy between Witt’s account and the Trust’s account, Magazu maintains that the Rhodes statement does not contradict that the quarterback chose to play in The Game before learning his candidacy had been called into question.

According to an email Magazu provided the News, Daniel Promislow, secretary for the Rhodes district that includes Witt’s home state of Georgia, notified Witt on Nov. 8 that his interview date could not be moved. Witt said he decided he would play in The Game that same day, though he said he did not tell members of the Athletics Department until the next day.

“Patrick’s statements are affirmed,” Magazu said. “He withdrew of his own accord in order to join his team on the field at The Game.”

The Rhodes statement said the interviewing committee in Georgia was never told of the complaint or the need for re-endorsement to avoid biasing their decision if Yale were to re-endorse Witt.

The Rhodes statement refers to the complaint against Witt only as a “complaint” and does not term it “informal,” of “sexual assault,” or as filed by a female student with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct — details of the complaint that the New York Times first reported Jan. 26. According to the statement, American Secretary of the Trust Elliot Gerson LAW ’79 spoke with Witt by phone on Nov. 3 and told him the Trust knew of the complaint.

Magazu also acknowledged the “informal complaint” in a press release the day after the Times released its first story, but said it did not result in disciplinary action and was not placed on Witt’s permanent record.

The outline provided by the Trust states that Gerson told Yale that Witt’s candidacy required re-endorsement on Nov. 4, three days after the Trust informed Dailinger it had learned of the complaint. According to the Trust, Dailinger then told Gerson on Nov. 7 that she was waiting for Witt to “call her back.”

In a Saturday email, Magazu said Yale’s delay in notifying Witt of his need for re-endorsement was “the source of the confusion” in the conflicting narratives of how his candidacy ended. Witt did not know of the Rhodes’ additional requirement when he was deciding whether he would attend the mandatory scholarship interview or play in the Yale-Harvard game, which were both scheduled for Nov. 19, Magazu said.

Conroy said the four-day delay occurred because Yale received notice of the need for re-endorsement from the Rhodes Trust late on Friday, Nov. 4, and did not reach out to Witt over the weekend.

Witt formally announced he would play in The Game in a Nov. 13 press release from Yale Athletics.


  • JackJ

    Question: If the process is confidential who notified the Rhodes Trust?

    • DavidLott

      The New York Times?

      • Robbie

        But Rhodes already knew of it before the story broke. And even if that was the case, someone would still have had to tip off the times.

    • theantiantiyale

      There is a mole at Yale.

      • Justine

        Mole…Zealous student(s)? Yale employee(s)? Where does the buck stop? Yale needs to do the right thing and conduct an investigation on who broke the rules of engagement…the confidendiality clause. Who took it upon himself or herself to rise above Yale and communicate confidential information? Its up to Yale Administration to iniatiate an investigation before it has to respond to libel or defamation lawsuits that can be filed against it and the NY Times should the accused litigate. Then the nightmare begins and millions of dollars wasted . I can only imagine the sharks in the tank circling the deep pockets of Yale and the NY Times. Make this go away, please.

  • willowlewis71

    I think this topic has be beaten with a dead horse. Next Topic Please!

    • ms2676


  • EliFBfan

    The original NYT’s article related that the Rhodes’ Trust had been contacted directly by someone at Yale but not through official channels. Rhodes had originally stated they would never comment on candidates or anything to do with their process so I certainly don’t understand their motivation for publicizing their timeline. I think Justine is right; this is going to become a gigantic mess and is far from over.

  • eli1

    I for one cannot wait to find out who the mole was. Exhilerating stuff!

  • observer

    To hear some of these posters talk, all that’s at stake here is a search by corporate Yale for the wicked “whistleblower” who betrayed the secret – i.e., that Yale perpetrated the myth of Witt as Frank Merriwell for its own purposes – even after it became clear that there would be no Rhodes Scholarship in his future.

    Yale and Witt both seemed to think that his heroic status could be preserved by manipulating the timeline: “You can’t fire him, Mr. Rhodes, because he already quit!” Now, rather than fess up to the conspiracy to preserve Witt’s phony hero status, the defenders of the faith now want to avoid discussing it, and rather to simply string up the anonymous person who blew the whistle.

    • River_Tam

      Confidential processes are confidential for a reason.

      • observer

        What reason? To shield potential Rhodes applicants from having negative information considered by the selection committee?

  • observer
  • EliFBfan

    Thanks to Observer for direction to the article. A quote from said article, “to Witt’s complainant, who — presumably aroused by the litigation and dissatisfied with her own experience of the confidential process — met the editor of the Yale Daily News and perhaps breached the confidentiality agreement in other ways.”

    Max, you got a comment?

  • AsianAdvantage

    Follow the money…

  • silliwin01

    Jim Sleeper clearly doesn’t go to Yale football games on the weekend.