The Rhodes Trust released a statement Friday outlining a new timeline that differs from Patrick Witt’s ’12 own account of how his Rhodes candidacy ended.
According to the Trust, which had previously declined to comment on the matter, the scholarship foundation informed Witt on Nov. 3 that it had learned of a complaint filed against the former quarterback last fall. The statement said Yale notified Witt on Nov. 8 that his candidacy would need to be re-endorsed by University administrators.
But in a Wednesday interview with the News, Witt said he first learned of the need for re-endorsement on either the evening of Nov. 9 or morning of Nov. 10 from a phone call with Katherine Dailinger, Yale’s director for national fellowships. In a Friday interview, Witt’s spokesman Mark Magazu said Witt stands by his previous statement. Magazu also maintained that when Dailinger informed Witt of the need for re-endorsement, Witt told her in the same phone conversation that he had already made his decision to play in the Yale-Harvard Game, scheduled for the same day as his Rhodes interview.
UPDATE: 11:55 a.m.
Read the full text of the Rhodes Trust’s statement below.
Statement of the Rhodes Trust
On November 1, 2011, Mr. Elliot Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, told the Yale University Institutional Representative for the Rhodes Scholarships, Ms. Katherine Dailinger, that the Trust had learned of a complaint lodged against Mr. Patrick Witt, a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship. Mr. Gerson asked for a conversation between him and a Yale official regarding the matter. On November 2, Ms. Dailinger told Mr. Gerson that Mr. Witt would phone him the following evening.
On November 3, Mr. Gerson explained to Mr. Witt that the Rhodes Trust had learned of a complaint lodged against him at Yale. On Friday, November 4, Mr. Gerson informed Yale officials that the Trust would require Yale to re-confirm in writing by November 15 its endorsement of Mr. Witt and asked Yale to explain to Mr. Witt the Trust’s decision to ask for Yale’s endorsement anew.
On Monday, November 7, Mr. Gerson contacted Ms. Dailinger to confirm that the Rhodes position had been communicated to Mr. Witt. Ms. Dailinger replied that she was waiting for Mr. Witt to call her back.
Mr. Gerson has been told by Yale that Mr. Witt was informed on November 8 that his continued eligibility would be contingent upon Rhodes’ receipt of this new endorsement.
Mr. Witt initiated communications with the secretary of the Rhodes interviewing committee in Atlanta on November 7 regarding the possibility of scheduling his interview in Atlanta to allow him to play in the Harvard game on the day of the interviews (November 19). He was advised that the arrangements he sought were not feasible in view of Rhodes’ standard procedures. The Rhodes interviewing committee in Atlanta was not ever told about the complaint and the Trust’s request for re-endorsement because the Rhodes Trust did not want the Committee to be prejudiced should Yale have elected to issue a new endorsement.
On November 13, before Yale’s re-confirmation was due, Mr. Witt informed the Rhodes Trust that he was withdrawing from the Rhodes competition.
Elliot F. Gerson