The story was as inspiring as it was refreshing: A star quarterback at a top school, in line for a Rhodes scholarship, passes up a chance at an individual honor to lead his team in a rivalry game.

When Yale's Patrick Witt chose to skip his Rhodes scholarship interview in November to play against Harvard -- only a couple of weeks after the Penn State scandal broke -- it was a needed break from a year of sex, lies and cover-ups in college football.

And then it seemed that feel-good story was sullied by allegations of sex, lies, and cover-ups.

But now there's another question: Was there also an unfair rush to judgement?

The New York Times reports the Rhodes Trust learned Witt was accused of sexually assaulting another Yale student and asked Yale for another letter of endorsement. Witt suspended his candidacy for the prestigious honor the next day.

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Transitions are much trickier than we usually think. They're tough for any organization, and particularly established college football programs, where tradition is sacrosanct and coaches become icons. The coach who follows you is going to do things differently, like it or not, and if he succeeds, your critics will say he's better than you were, and if he falters, they will say you set him up for failure. It is truly a no-win situation -- and that's under normal circumstances.

Handling this well is not the rule, but the rare exception.

When Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez in December of 2007, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. Plug a big-name coach into a big-name program, and what could go wrong? As it turned out, just about everything. A quickie courtship ended in a quickie divorce.

If that marriage crashed and burned in just three years, what chance do Penn State and Bill O'Brien have, on the heels of a tragedy and the passing of coaching legend Joe Paterno? I saw how strong a football family can be when I wrote Three And Out about the Michigan transition. I also saw how difficult it is for an outsider to join. When the alumni body rejects a foreign object, it can get ugly.

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It's official: Everybody on the planet has an opinion on Tim Tebow. By now we've heard from everyone from Rick Perry to Bill Maher to the folks at Saturday Night Live. And of course those opinions result in even more opinions, so much so that Tim Tebow the human being is almost irrelevant next to Tim Tebow the idea. What Tebow represents can be almost anything to anyone, but the person we're all talking about has faded away.

And that brings us to the atheist community.

They are certainly in the minority on Tim Tebow. In a recent nationwide poll, 43 percent of those who knew of Tebow said they believed divine intervention was at least partly responsible for his success. Atheists, obviously, disagree. They also dislike how Tebow is using his fame to promote Christianity. No surprise there.

But what is surprising is that one leading atheist makes an argument against Tebow that also serves as a roundabout defense of Tebow. And to illustrate that point, we begin with the president of American Atheists, Dave Silverman, Tebowing:

Silverman, 45, has added a clever twist to the fad. He is genuflecting like Tebow does when he prays, but he's also mimicking Rodin's The Thinker. This is a nod to the atheist or humanistic belief that it is man -- not a higher power -- who is purely in control of his fate. Silverman is Tebowing to his fellow man.

"The universe has a trillion stars," he says. "Ninety five percent of it is dark matter. It's hubris to think the Creator of all that wants the Broncos to win a football game."

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