Whitaker Wrongly Says He Was ‘Academic All-American’

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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker incorrectly claimed on his résumé and in government documents to have been named an Academic All-American while playing football at the University of Iowa, the Wall Street Journal reports. Whitaker, who was an Iowa tight end from 1990 to 1992, claimed to have been an Academic All-American in his biography on his former law firm’s website and on a résumé sent to the chief executive of a now-closed patent-marketing firm, for which he sat on the advisory board. The résumé was included in documents released by the Federal Trade Commission. Whitaker made the same claim in a 2010 application for an Iowa judgeship. A Justice Department press release in 2009 when Whitaker left his post as U.S. Attorney in Iowa said he had been “an academic All-American football player.”

To be considered for Academic All-American status, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and be a starter or important reserve on his or her team. Whitaker’s name doesn’t appear in the list of Academic All-Americans on the website of the organization that bestows the annual honor, the College Sports Information Directors of America. Barb Kowal, a spokeswoman for the organization, said the group has no record that Whitaker was ever an Academic All-American. Whitaker was given a lower-level honor, selected to an All-District honor in one of eight regions around the U.S. A Justice Department spokeswoman, said Whitaker relied on a 1993 University of Iowa football media guide, which listed him as a “GTE District VII academic All-American.” A university official said that, “if there is confusion at all, part of it could be how we listed it in our media guide.”

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