Harvard has suspended its men’s soccer team from playing for the rest of its season and barred it from postseason play after looking into a report that team members had circulated a document they called a “scouting report,” which ranked recruits for the women’s soccer team in vulgar and sexually explicit terms, The Harvard Crimson reports.
Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, had asked the university’s Office of General Counsel to investigate after the Crimson reported last week that team members had produced such a document in 2012. On Thursday, the athletics director, Robert L. Scalise, said he had decided to cancel the rest of the team’s season because the practice appeared to have been widespread across the team and had continued beyond 2012.
“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,” Mr. Scalise wrote in an email to Harvard athletes.
The six female recruits who were “ranked” in the 2012 document spoke out in an op-ed published by the Crimson last week, saying they had decided not to remain anonymous and let others speak for them. They said that after seeing the 2012 “scouting report,” they were “beyond hurt” to discover that athletes whom they had considered friends “could encourage, silently observe, or participate in this kind of behavior.” They also said that they were “appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance,” and were frustrated that women continued to be subjected to such judgments.
They concluded: “Finally, to the men of Harvard Soccer and any future men who may lay claim to our bodies and choose to objectify us as sexual objects, in the words of one of us, we say together: ‘I can offer you my forgiveness, which is — and forever will be — the only part of me that you can ever claim as yours.’”
In a statement emailed to reporters Thursday evening, Ms. Faust said that she was “deeply distressed” to learn that the 2012 incident was not an isolated event. Both the men’s team’s behavior and its “failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable,” she said, and “have no place at Harvard.”