Patrick Witt Is a Victim of Rhodes Committee

Richard LangfordCorrespondent INovember 14, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, MA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patick Witt #11 of the Yale Bulldogs passes the ball as Victor Ojukwu #91 of the Harvard Crimson pressures on November 20, 2010 at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Harvard defeated Yale 28-21.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Patrick Witt is a victim of the Rhodes Committee's desperate need for self-importance.

The Yale QB has withdrawn his application for a Rhodes scholarship because he would not be able to attend the interview, which is in conflict with his game against Harvard.

Witt, who is a finalist for the scholarship, had asked the committee to allow him to work around the scheduling conflict. This request was promptly and arrogantly denied. 

We have candidates every year miss games for the interview.

That was American Secretary for the Rhodes Trust Elliot F. Gerson's statement on the matter to ESPN.com.

Um—maybe the committee should learn something from that statement. If this situation arises every year, perhaps they should adjust their schedule to eradicate this problem.

You would think a committee that rules the Rhodes scholarship would be smart enough to figure this one out. 

Why would you force student-athletes to make this choice?

It is a needless show of self-importance. It is as if the committee gains value by the fact that they can force athletes to ditch out on their games. "See, we are more important than athletics."

Well I applaud Witt for his choice. This scholarship has nearly unlimited value moving forward. It sets the table and opens doors for endless opportunities. It could not have been an easy thing for Witt to turn his back on.

However, he made a commitment to his team and his teammates that began before he applied for that scholarship. He should be applauded for his desire to honor that commitment.

And the Rhodes committee should be jeered for making him choose in the first place.