The prestigious Harvard University is rarely talked about for its athletic programs. However, in recent years the basketball team has garnered national attention. During the final two months of 2016, two other Harvard teams have gotten national exposure, but for the wrong reasons.

At the beginning of November, Harvard shut down the men’s soccer season after a story broke that detailed how the team used a rating system to rate women, specifically the women’s soccer team recruits, on their physical appearance.

And now, there’s a disturbing story involving the men’s cross-country team.

According to the Boston Globe, the Harvard men’s cross-country team created a spreadsheet that was used for “crude and sexualized statements” about the women’s cross-country team.

The athletic probation punishment is noticeably less than the punishment levied against the soccer team. Part of the reason why is the cross-country team cooperated with the investigation into the spreadsheet that was made and maintained by members of the 2014 team.

The announcement came from Harvard Athletic Director Robert Scalise in an email on Friday night. Scalise and Crimson leadership decided athletic probation fit the bill based on what was said and how the team cooperated with University lawyers. The spreadsheet itself focused on who members of the women’s team would ask to the end-of-season dance. On top of that, men’s cross-country runners made crude comments about the female runner’s physical appearances.

“Harvard Athletics is working . . . to identify appropriate training and educational opportunities in which all members of the team will be required to participate,” Scalise said. “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.”

The school’s student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, wrote that terms of the probation haven’t been laid out publicly. The Crimson originally made the investigation public in November after it published texts from the team’s GroupMe. The texts referred to the 2014 spreadsheet as well as one from 2012.

“Hahaha dude 2012 was the absolute worst I saw. It got tamer each year after that,” wrote one recent graduate.

“It’s terrible God,” agreed another member of the group, a recent College graduate.

“Also 2014 talked about a specific person getting black dick a lot,” he wrote.

The Crimson also added this is the first time in school history Harvard placed a team on athletic probation.

[Boston GlobeThe Crimson]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.