Harvard University took the unusual step to cancel the remainder of their men’s soccer season Friday after the school’s student-run newspaper — The Harvard Crimson — uncovered a sexually explicit “scouting report” members of the soccer team compiled annually on their freshmen counterparts.
The decision to cancel the Harvard soccer team’s season was handed down late Thursday night, according to the student newspaper. Director of Athletics Robert Scalise informed Harvard students athletes of his decision via email because the soccer team had produced a “scouting report” again in 2016, the administrator wrote.
“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.”
After the discovery of a 2012 “scouting report,” an investigation was mandated by Harvard University president Drew G. Faust. The Office of General Counsel conducted the week-long review into the soccer team’s activities off the field, revealing the players had continued the practice of writing a scouting report in 2016.
Faust and Scalise decided to end the Harvard soccer season prematurely due to the graphic nature of the “scouting report.” Additionally, the team’s reluctance to come forward with information about the documents in question had an impact on the decision, Faust wrote in a statement released by Harvard University.
“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 first report unearthed by The Harvard Clemson was from 2012, according to an article in October. The nine-page “scouting report” was produced by a member of the soccer team and shared via Google Groups, an email list-serv publicly housing the document until recently.
The lewd “scouting report” on the Harvard University women’s soccer team freshmen players was detailed, according to the news article. The “scouting report” included paragraph-form assessments of the athletes and pictures of each female. Additionally, the women were assigned numerical scores by attractiveness and hypothetical sexual positions, the newspaper reported.
When the student reporters first presented the “scouting report” to Scalise, the administrator admonished the “disturbing” document. However, Scalise told the reporters that the issue was “an internal Harvard matter” and punishment for the soccer team would not be discussed further.
“This is not a media thing. This is something that should be looked at by us in the administration to figure out what our steps are, but we shouldn’t do anything more with the media on this other than ‘thank you for letting us know about this, okay. We need to look at it.'”
The Harvard University soccer team potentially lost more than the final two regular season games left on their schedule. Sitting atop the standing of their conference, the soccer team was one win away from securing the league’s title and automatic berth into the NCAA tournament later this month — their first under coach Pieter Lehrer.
For his part, Lehrer accepted the decision to end the Harvard soccer season prematurely. In a statement released by the university, the soccer coach said he was “disappointed that our season has ended in this way, but we respect the decision made by our administration.”
Do you agree with the decision to cancel the Harvard University soccer season over the sexually explicit “scouting report” the team produced annually? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]