Harvard Shuts Down Men’s Soccer Season For Its Gross ‘Scouting Reports’

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Photo via iStock/janniswerner

Photo via iStock/janniswerner

Harvard has cancelled the remainder of the season for its men’s soccer team after investigating the lewd “scouting reports” male players allegedly wrote about their female peers, which ranked women’s soccer players on their attractiveness and speculated about the kinds of sex positions they would prefer.

The team, which had reportedly been in contention two win championships, will not play any more games, and will give up its chance to compete in the post-season.

The college’s leadership is taking a firm stand on the “reports,” which sparked outrage when they were first uncovered by the campus newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, last week. One such document from 2012 had until recently been publicly accessible via Google Groups.

The move comes after administrators concluded an investigation, and discovered that players had continued to write the graphic descriptions of freshman students through 2016. It was not previously known whether the men stopped the practice after 2012, but emails among players uncovered previously suggested the write-ups were a tradition. The Crimson was also first to report that the season would be cancelled.

“As a direct result of what Harvard Athletics has learned, we have decided to cancel the remainder of the 2016 men’s soccer season,” wrote Athletics Director Robert Scalise in an email to students, the paper reports. “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.”

University President Drew G. Faust also responded with a statement:

 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.

The men will undergo an education program via the school’s Office of Sexual Assault and Response, the Crimson reports.

The document allegedly written by the soccer players was explicit. Speculation included in them included that one woman “looks like the kind of girl who both likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated,” that another was “probably inexperienced sexually,” and that another “wants cock.”

This incident is again pulling Harvard into the spotlight over challenges to traditions believed to exclude or disadvantage women. Also this year, the school has pushed policies to upend gender-restricted “final clubs.”

Harvard is also among colleges nationwide facing pressure to address and prevent on-campus sexual assault, and combat attitudes that lend implicit support to men who would take advantage of women, or promote indifference to the concerns of women who report being assaulted or feeling unsafe.

The six women mentioned in the 2012 report have not stayed silent on the issue. They responded in an op-ed last week, which they co-signed, called “Stronger Together.”

More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.

Some see this as another referendum on “locker room talk,” the defense that Republican candidate Donald Trump used this year after a leak publicized his comments about getting away with assaulting women.

More, from the women who wrote the Crimson op-ed:

‘Locker room talk’ is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams. The whole world is the locker room.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2016/11/04/harvard-soccer/