Harvard University suspended its first-place men’s soccer team Thursday for the rest of the season after discovering that players’ crude sexual comments about the women’s team persisted for years, the Harvard Crimson reported.
The online practice of the men rating the women players on their sexual attractiveness was discovered from a 2012 document, but it appeared to “be more widespread across the team and has continued beyond 2012, including 2016,” athletic director Robert L. Scalise said in an email.
“The team will forfeit its remaining games and will decline any opportunity to achieve an Ivy League championship or to participate in the NCAA Tournament this year,” he wrote.
University president Drew Faust said in a statement she was “deeply distressed” that the “appalling actions” of the men’s team were more widespread, ESPN reported Thursday night.
“The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard’s view that both the team’s behavior and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community,” Faust wrote.
The Crimson revealed last week a nine-page “scouting report” that featured vulgar reviews of freshman players on the 2012 women’s soccer team, written by members of the men’s side. The women’s photos were accompanied with a numerical score for her physical appearance and such comments as “She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position.”
Six women from the 2012 recruiting class issued a letter last Saturday blasting the assessment as “careless, disgusting, and appalling.”
Harvard was undefeated in the Ivy League and had an overall record of 10-3-2 with two games left. The Boston Globe noted that the team would have clinched an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament and a share of the Ivy League title with a victory against Columbia on Saturday.
“We strongly believe that this immediate and significant action is absolutely necessary if we are to create an environment of mutual support, respect, and trust among our students and our teams,” the athletic director said.