Harvard, having barely survived the blow to its prestige from having given the incumbent President a post-graduate degree, now has to deal with a more banal problem endemic in college sports: the fact that its football team consists predominantly of football players. The team captain and the starting quarterback and running back have been suspended for various transgressions, including participation in what the head coach called a "disgusting skit" that possibly may have involved sexual innuendo about him. Harvard has had a very successful run the past five years, including an undefeated season in 2004, but the reaction to having a lacrosse team infiltrating the football squad has been mixed:
Helene Irvin, mother of junior quarterback Richard Irvin, who played at Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood and Muir High School in Pasadena and is among 14 Harvard players from California, said she was appalled by the "Skit Night" routines.
"I expect the grown-ups and the administration and the coaches to put a stop to this behavior immediately and get things back to working order," Irvin said. "That's what every parent would want. This cannot and will not happen again."
Michael Hull, whose son Thomas is a freshman punter who played at Santa Margarita High, said he had no regrets about sending his son to Harvard.
"It may be unprecedented or unheard of," Hull said of the off-field problems, "but it doesn't mean the institution is falling apart or that there is a pattern. There is no cancer afoot."