In July I wrote about the increased restrictions student-athletes may face once they join an intercollegiate athletic team. At that time, the Athletic Director at Kent State University had announced that all student-athletes needed to remove their profiles from Facebook.com (he later reversed the decision). I said in the post, “ADs and coaches seem most concerned about the images of the school, the athletic department, and the teams that these [Facebook] profiles can portray.” The Harvard football coach has given further evidence of this phenomenon.
The Boston Globe reported this weekend that Coach Tim Murphy cut wide receiver Keegan Toci after a “mean-spirited” skit at the team’s annual Skit Night. The offense? Suggesting that a player had performed oral sex on the head coach? No, that was another skit performed that night, one that escaped scrutiny. In his skit, Toci listed twenty reasons why Harvard would never rise to Division 1-A.
Murphy told the Globe, “He was dismissed because of a mean-spirited attack on the training staff, coaching staff, players, strength coaches and Harvard University in general.”
FIRE recognizes that students give up some of their rights when they join an athletic team, and as I mentioned in the post I reference above, there’s no clear line to draw. However, this incident falls in line with a trend FIRE often fights, notably at Harvard Business School and Shaw University—parody is ok until it attacks those in power, whether administrators or coaches. In this case, jokes about oral sex are ok. Criticisms of the coaching staff, the trainers, and Harvard, are not ok.
Schools: Harvard University