Patrick Witt Rhodes Scholar: Yale Quarterback May Have To Choose Between Prestigious Interview And Harvard Game
It's a decision every young adult has to face at some point: Go to a Rhodes Scholarship interview in Atlanta or play quarterback for Yale against Harvard.
Ok, maybe not every college student faces this dilemma.
But for Yale quarterback Patrick Witt this fortunate conundrum is very real.
On Monday, Witt was informed that he had been selected as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, a prestigious international award for study at Oxford University.
While the news that Witt was selected as a finalist is quite an honor it may force the history major from Georgia to make a tough decision. His interview is scheduled to take place at Emory University in Atlanta on November 19th. Unfortunately, Yale is scheduled to play rival Harvard in "The Game" on that same Saturday. With the interviews scheduled to begin at 8 AM and the game set to kickoff at noon, it seems unlikely that Witt could participate in the interview and get back for the game.
"It's still very new, it’s still very fresh just finding out this information," Witt told the Yale Daily News. "So I need to kind of reevaluate. If the Rhodes Committee is willing to work with me, in a perfect world, I can interview first thing in the morning and get on a flight to be back in time for the game on Saturday. But I don’t know if that will be possible."
Witt transferred to Yale from the University of Nebraska, where he held a 4.0 GPA. He continued his academic success in New Haven, where he carries a 3.91 GPA. After serving as the starting quarterback at Yale for two seasons, he's on track to break all the school's major passing records.
Witt, who has served as a guest columnist for the Yale Daily News, wrote about "The Game" for the paper in 2009, expressing its importance to him. "This upcoming Saturday has been circled on my calendar ever since I transferred to Yale at the beginning of the school year," Witt wrote. "For me, The Game holds special meaning."
According to an article in the Hartford Courant, Witt has received some attention from NFL scouts and could very well follow in the footsteps of fellow Ivy League QB Ryan Fitzpatrick -- formerly of Harvard, but now with the Buffalo Bills -- by making a roster next fall... if he's not at Oxford.
It should be noted that Witt is not the first athlete to be up for the prestigious award in the past.
In 2008, Myron Rolle, a safety at Florida State, put his NFL career on hold in order to accept a Rhodes Scholarship. In fact, Rolle played in a game against Maryland the same day he interviewed and won his scholarship.
In 2010, Justine Schluntz, who was on the swimming team at the University of Arizona and Darryl Finkton Jr., who spent two seasons playing basketball at Harvard, were named Rhodes scholars. Schluntz was also named the NCAA Woman of the Year in 2010.
In 2008, another Yale football standout was named a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. Luckily for defensive back Casey Gerald, his interview fell on the day before the game against Harvard. Gerald traveled to Texas for his interview and made it back to New England just hours before kickoff. He lost both the scholarship and the game.
Even if he has to choose one event over the other, Witt is hoping to go at least 1-1.