Report: Yale QB's bid was suspended

Updated: January 27, 2012, 8:04 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

A Yale football player who said he withdrew from consideration for a Rhodes scholarship in order to prepare for his team's rivalry game against Harvard had in fact been informed his candidacy had been suspended, The New York Times reported.

The Rhodes Trust had suspended quarterback Patrick Witt's candidacy when it learned, outside of official channels, that a female student had accused Witt of sexual assault in September, the newspaper reported.

Witt had previously announced he had withdrawn his application because his interview for the prestigious scholarship was on the same day as Yale's game against Harvard, its longtime archrival.

Witt has not been charged with any crime and there is no criminal case pending against him, the Times reported.

The accuser did not go to the police, the newspaper said, adding that it has not spoken with the accuser and does not know the person's name.

Witt is no longer enrolled at Yale and has not graduated. He did not respond to messages left on his phone, email or Facebook account seeking comment, The Times reported.

Yale did not clarify Witt's enrollment status and refused to confirm or deny the existence of a complaint, according to the report.

University officials also declined to discuss why Yale did not officially alert the Rhodes Trust of the complaint, how it reacted to Witt's candidacy being suspended and whether it decided to again endorse Witt before he withdrew his candidacy, the Times reported.

The Times said it interviewed six people with knowledge of all or part of the accusation against Witt and how it affected his Rhodes Scholar candidacy. All spoke on condition of anonymity, the newspaper reported.

In September, a female student claimed Witt had assaulted her in her dorm room, according to people with knowledge of the situation, The Times reported.

The woman made the complaint through an informal process available to Yale students -- in which the issue is resolved without a formal finding of guilt or innocence -- rather than making a formal complaint, the newspaper reported.

A number of details about the case were not clear, including whether the case was resolved and how, or whether Yale president Richard C. Levin, who signed Witt's Rhodes endorsement letter, knew of the complaint, The Times reported.

According to Conroy, the dean of Yale College is notified of complaints and any resulting punishment, the newspaper reported.

The Rhodes Trust was told about the accusation in November, but not through official channels, the newspaper reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The Trust then informed Levin and other university officials that Witt's candidacy was suspended and gave them about a week to decide if they would still back him, according to the report.

Connecticut law does not require colleges to report suspected sex offenses, according to the report.

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