The Harvard University men’s soccer team’s season has officially been canceled, school officials announced on Thursday. The decision came in the wake of an investigation from the university’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, which revealed that members of the 2012 men’s soccer team had created a nine-page “scouting report” evaluating the physical attractiveness of new recruits to the women’s soccer team. A statement issued by Harvard president Drew Faust implied that school investigators had discovered that the practice of creating such “scouting reports” had not been limited to 2012 but had in fact continued into the current year.
“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,” Faust said.
The six players who comprised the women’s soccer team’s recruiting class in 2012 issued a response to the incident on Saturday in the Crimson, writing that they were “beyond hurt” by the discovery and that they had once considered some of the members of the men’s team “close friends.”
“When first notified of this ‘scouting report’ each of us responded with surprise and confusion, but ultimately brushed off the news as if it didn’t really matter,” they wrote. “The sad reality is that we have come to expect this kind of behavior from so many men, that it is so ‘normal’ to us we often decide it is not worth our time or effort to dwell on.”
But the media pressure, they wrote, made the scandal impossible to ignore. And in the end, they agreed that the right thing to do was not only to speak up for themselves, but to let it be known that, despite it being common, such behavior was unacceptable. Noting that they had all since read the “scouting report” for themselves, they said that calling the document “locker room talk” was not sufficient to justify it.
“This is not limited to athletic teams,” they wrote. “The whole world is the locker room … ultimately we all are members of the same team. We are human beings and we should be treated with dignity.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.