Yale coach Williams in hot water over Rhodes scholarship

A few weeks ago we reported that Yale quarterback Patrick Witt faced a tough choice in either playing Harvard Saturday in The Game, or flying to Georgia for his Rhodes Scholarship finalist interview.

This week, Witt announced he would withdraw his Rhodes application in order to play — an interesting choice — but the quarterback's decision has quickly fallen out of the spotlight as questions have arisen over his coach, Tom Williams, and his history with the Rhodes program.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Witt had leaned on Williams to help guide him in his choice. Williams also, it appeared, had dealt with a similar decision as a player at Stanford, having to choose between Rhodes and an NFL tryout.

But some snooping by the Times found that the Rhodes Trust had no record of Williams ever applying. And it appears Williams listed his Rhodes candidacy on his resume when applying to Yale.

Now Yale is looking into the matter, according to a new Times article:

Yale’s president, Richard C. Levin, said in a statement that he had instructed the university’s general counsel “to commence immediately a review of the facts surrounding Tom Williams’s assertions about being a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship.” The university said it would have no further comment until after the review.

Stanford would not release any information to reporters without permission of the student (Williams). Meanwhile, Thursday at practice, Williams told reporters that he had been endorsed to apply for the scholarship, but ended up not doing so:

“There is no intention to deceive,” Williams said. “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.”

It will be interesting to see how the Elis handle this one.

2 thoughts on “Yale coach Williams in hot water over Rhodes scholarship

  1. Thanks for posting. Yale's handling of this matter both by its President and The Yale Daily News is interesting and instructive. Here's a link from the YDN that they are not giving this popular coach a pass: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/nov/18/williams-rhodes-credential-questioned/

    The George O'Leary example at Notre Dame football may have been more egregious, but resume inflation - like pregnancy - either is or isn't. Contrast the number of occasions Williams allowed the perception he was a finalist to remain, with his lawyerly wording above that "...I never said I was a finalist..."

    Of course we at Penn have little standing other than to observe and hopefully learn how such matters should be handled at any school that espouses "eminence" for itself. Recall that last year the former Penn M-Tennis coach was accused by a couple of commentators (representing themselves as his players in a DP post) alleging resume inflation.

    To be fair this was not confirmed; but other than renewing his contract and a raise for dragging down this once great program, the President, Athletic Director, and the DP did no investigation; and said nothing!

  2. Wonderful contribution from EN.

    Yes - there seemed to be very little institutional accountablity by Penn. In turn, the Penn M Tennis affair was sadly under-reported by the DP.

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