Harvard Cancels Remaining Men's Soccer Season Over Sexual Ranking of Women's Team

On Thursday, Harvard announced it would be canceling the remainder of it’s No. 1 ranked men’s soccer season. The reason: an ongoing practice of the male players ranking the female first year soccer recruits based on their bodies and physical appearance. University officials uncovered that this “ranking” of the female soccer players has been occurring within the men’s team since 2012. This rating of the female players was reportedly referred to as a “scouting report” by the men’s soccer team.

The investigation began after The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper on campus, reported last week that a member of the 2012 men’s soccer team created a 9 page raking of the first year recruits for the women’s soccer team with numerical values, pictures, and long descriptions of their bodies and physical appearance.

The 9 page ranking included an assigned sexual position for each woman in addition to her position of the soccer field.

“She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position,” the author wrote about one female player. “Doggy style,” “The Triple Lindy,” and “cowgirl” were listed as other possible positions for other female players on the list.

The Crimson followed up the initial report with a response written by six members of the 2012 women’s soccer team addressing the report and the men behind it.

“We have seen the “scouting report” in its entirety,” they wrote. “We know the fullest extent of its contents: the descriptions of our bodies, the numbers we were each assigned, and the comparison to each other and recruits in classes before us. This document attempts to pit us against one another, as if the judgment of a few men is sufficient to determine our worth. But, men, we know better than that. Eighteen years of soccer taught us that. Eighteen years—as successful, powerful, and undeniably brilliant female athletes - taught us that."  

With only two regular season games left in the season, the men were standing as the No. 1 rank, with a 4-0-1 conference record, 10-3-2 over all. According to the Athletics Director, Robert Scalise, Harvard will forfeit the opportunity to win an Ivy League championship or participate in this year’s N.C.A.A. tournament.

The president of the college said in a statement Thursday that, “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.”

In the response op-ed, the six women members of the 2012 soccer team expressed their frustration over how mainstream and commonplace this type of behavior from men has become stating, “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.”

They went on to condemn the behavior of these men, many whom they considered to be close friends, and called for women to “band together in combatting this type of behavior, because we are a team and we are stronger when we are united.”

They concluded their response with the following statement:

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.”