Harvard has canceled the rest of the 2016-2017 Men’s Soccer season over a group of emails school officials say contained lewd sexual remarks about freshman recruits on the Women’s Soccer team.
The team is/was currently in first place in the Ivy League, undefeated within the Ivy League, and had just two games left in the season. If they had won the Ivy League title, which many believed was going to happen, they would have won an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament. Now that’s all gone.
The controversy all started last week when a player on the 2012 Men’s Soccer Team leaked a team email chain to The Harvard Crimson newspaper. The leaked emails contained what’s being called a “sexual scouting report,” wherein the men’s team graded the women’s team players on their sexual attraction. Following an internal investigation of those emails, officials learned that those emails have continued in some sort of tradition. Officials say that players in 2016 had written their own scouting report.
After the leak was made public, members of the women’s team wrote an open letter, published in the Harvard Crimson, which stated their disappointment in the men’s team. In it, they wrote 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.” Furthermore, they hoped that the leaked emails would “lead to productive conversation and action on Harvard’s campus, within collegiate athletic teams across the country, and into the locker room that is our world.”
So last night the Men’s Soccer team season was canceled, a move first reported by The Harvard Crimson. News than traveled to ESPN. It’s becoming a big story. Harvard Athletic Director Robert Scalise wrote this in a statement:
“As a direct result of what Harvard Athletics has learned, we have decided to cancel the remainder of the 2016 men’s soccer season. 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… 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.”
But Scalise was far from the only Harvard official to sound off on the decision. Harvard University President Drew Faust wrote that she was:
“Deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men’s soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals… 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.”