Friday, December 16, 2016

And Princeton makes...

...three. As in the third Ivy League university to suspend a sports team this semester over racist, misogynist, and generally offensive messages among members. It is the fourth team when counting non-Ivy Amherst.

Princeton's swimming and diving team has been banned from competition pending an investigation which will inform administrators' decision over whether to cancel the rest of the season.

Like at Harvard, the comments were about members of the women's team. But other than that we do not know much. Unlike at Amherst, where the comments were revealed via a student publication, the issue came to the attention to the administrators via an anonymous complaint.

It is possible some comments will be leaked. I don't think we really need to know exactly what was said to see that the genie is out of the bottle. These are not going to be isolated incidents.

So while some people wait to see if Princeton officials will cancel the swim team's season, I am waiting to see how these events and the ones that will follow will be framed. Will people make a connection between the athlete culture that produces the athletes who write and disseminate these message and the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses? Will we start to look at "locker room culture" and think about sports beyond football and basketball? All the teams reprimanded/suspended/cancelled have been non-major teams--and at schools that are not considered "big-time college sports" schools. (I am not saying that athletes at these schools do not work as hard or as not as dedicated or that their sports are not important. I am speaking to the larger culture and categorizations of intercollegiate sports.) Will Title IX be used as a remedy or a consideration in these cases? Will we be able to talk about not just gender but race and sexuality and class as we engage in discussions?

So many questions. I suspect more cases will emerge before we start to get at answers.