Harvard has placed its men’s cross-country team on what it termed “athletic probation” Friday for creating annual spreadsheets about the women’s team. In November, the school canceled the rest of its men’s soccer team’s season for continuing to create sexually explicit “scouting reports” on incoming female soccer players.
The cross-country team’s spreadsheets came to light in the wake of the soccer team’s punishment. The former squad is getting a lighter punishment because it cooperated with an investigation, and because this year’s team was deemed not to have been excessively offensive in making remarks. From a report Friday by Harvard’s school newspaper, the Crimson:
In an email sent to Harvard student athletes, Robert L. Scalise, the athletics director, wrote OGC [the Office of the General Counsel] found that the team created spreadsheets commenting on members of the women’s team and predicting which women would invite the men to a Sadie Hawkins-style dance. While the review found that now-graduated athletes had made “sexualized” comments in the 2014 spreadsheet, the 2016 spreadsheet had not included “personally denigrating entries aimed at members of the women’s team.”
In group text messages that were obtained by the Crimson, members of a recent Harvard men’s cross-country team, including some members of this year’s unit, commented on past spreadsheets. “Hahaha dude 2012 was the absolute worst I saw. It got tamer each year after that,” wrote one student-athlete, described as a “recent graduate.”
“It’s terrible God,” agreed another “recent graduate,” who added that the 2014 version made specific claims about a certain woman’s sexual history.
“The probation and training, it means that they’re going to keep a close watch on us and have us go through some training seminars with some Title IX coordinators, and also talk with an outside consultant about just working on our team culture,” Brandon E. Price, the men’s cross-country team captain, said to the Crimson.
Price had sent an email to members of his team asking them to “come clean with anything that we have typed down in the past.” He told the Crimson that he and his teammates were “ashamed” of the 2014 spreadsheet and have endeavored to change “the team culture.”
“Harvard Athletics is working . . . to identify appropriate training and educational opportunities in which all members of the [men’s cross-country] team will be required to participate,” Scalise wrote in the email (via the Boston Globe). “We want to again acknowledge that members of the current men’s cross country team, including the team captain, came forward to bring the spreadsheets to our attention.”
“We believe the accountability shown by these students, their taking responsibility for past actions and bringing them to our attention, positively contributes to Harvard Athletics’ ability to learn, assess, and improve our culture,” Scalise added.