Harvard University has canceled the remainder of its men's soccer team's season over a racy document that circulated among team member's rating members of the Harvard women's soccer team on the basis of their physical appearance and presumed sexual proficiency.
OK, I guess (although what about free speech?)–except for one little problem: The document in question dates from 2012.
Hasn't every team member who helped circulate the "scouting report," as they called it, graduated by now? Or did someone on the team flunk Chem 101 and have to put in an extra year or two? I thought everyone at Harvard got an automatic "A" because they're all so smart.
The student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, offers this:
Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise wrote in an email to Harvard student athletes that he decided to cancel the rest of the team’s season because the “practice appears to be more widespread across the team and has continued beyond 2012, including in 2016.”
And that's it. No one in the Harvard administration has deigned to disclose exactly what evidence supports the group punishment for the team, which up until now was ranked #1 for this Ivy League season.
From an earlier Crimson report, the nine-page 2012 "scouting" document (apparently found via Google Groups) sounded like…something guys used to do when I was in college. Or like Harvardian Mark Zuckerberg's idea for creating a website that would compare Harvard girls to farm animals and ask viewers to vote on who was most attractive. (Yes, Zuckerberg did this in real life, not just in The Social Network). Rude, crude, and un-gentlemanly, but not uncommon among exuberant young men.
Here's what the Crimson said:
In lewd terms, the author of the report individually evaluated each female recruit, assigning them numerical scores and writing paragraph-long assessments of the women. The document also included photographs of each woman, most of which, the author wrote, were culled from Facebook or the Internet….
Each woman was assigned a hypothetical sexual “position” in addition to her position on the soccer field….
The author also assigned each woman a nickname, calling one woman “Gumbi” because “her gum to tooth ratio is about 1 to 1.”
“For that reason I am forced to rate her a 6,” the author added.
The Crimson added:
The “report” appears to have been an annual practice. At the beginning of the document, the author writes that “while some of the scouting report last year was wrong, the overall consensus that” a certain player “was both the hottest and the most STD ridden was confirmed.”
Soon after the story broke, the six female team members who had been "evaluated" in 2012 (and graduated in 2016) wrote a collective op-ed for the Crimson indicating that all had likely majored in women's studies at Harvard:
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.
So, there are lessons to be learned from this debacle 1) Guys, don't put anything locker-roomish in writing (actually, don't even say it unless you trust your listeners completely); 2) Memorize the Weiner Rule: Everything on the Internet will out, even the contents of a private Google Group; 3) It doesn't matter whether you're personally guilty of the transgressions of your fellow males; you will be punished anyway.