Columbia Suspends Wrestling Season Over Lewd and Racist Text Messages

Columbia University’s wrestling team, which bills itself as the nation’s oldest intercollegiate program, has had its season suspended by the university while officials investigate text messages sent by team members that included the frequent use of racist, misogynistic and homophobic terms.

On Monday, Columbia released a statement saying that the university’s athletic department “has decided that Columbia wrestlers will not compete until we have a full understanding of the facts on which to base the official response to this disturbing matter.” A university official confirmed late Monday that the team was still practicing, which raised the possibility that the season would continue once the investigation was completed.

Columbia withdrew from a meet on Sunday at Binghamton after the university announced it would have “zero tolerance in its athletics programs for the group messaging and texts sent by several members of the men’s varsity wrestling team,” messages that the university described as “appalling.” The team’s next meet is scheduled for this Sunday at the New York State championships at Cornell, but Monday’s announcement made it unclear if the team would make the trip.

Screengrabs of the texts were first published Thursday by Bwog, an independent, student-run Columbia news website. The lewd texts were sent over the last three years by wrestling team members through the messaging app GroupMe, Bwog reported.

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