PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Disheartening and unsettling is how one student at the University of Pennsylvania described what happened there this week.
The volleyball team's last two games were canceled after vulgar signs were found in their locker room. But the issues with the team go much deeper than that.
"There's questions as to what the program will look like next year. Obviously its been a tumultuous two seasons," said Theodoros Papazekos, the senior sports editor for the school's student-run newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian.
The school didn't say what the signs said, but called them vulgar, offensive and disrespectful.
Papazekos said the trouble started when the school hired head coach Iain Braddock. Braddock is the team's third coach in 3 years.
"Players reported that they felt uncomfortable, that their mental health was impacted, that they started to lose passion for the game of volleyball," Papazekos told KYW.
Papazekos said students filed eight grievances with the athletics department since Braddock was hired. The team's captain also quit last season.
The university announced the decision to cancel the Quakers' season in a press release on their website Wednesday.
The university says "vulgar" posters were found in the team's locker room earlier this week. The release did not disclose the content of the posters.
The Ivy League school's director of athletics and recreation, M. Grace Calhoun, said the student-athletes' behavior "is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Officials say the issue has been referred to the school's administration for further review.
The student athletic director issued this statement: "The behavior exhibited by our women's volleyball student-athletes is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We expect our student-athletes to represent the University of Pennsylvania in a first-class and respectful manner at all times, and in this case, our women's volleyball student-athletes did not meet that standard."
The team will not be traveling to their final two contests of the season against Yale and Brown this weekend.
"I think it's actually good that they're doing something about it and not just ignoring this or putting it behind closed doors or something like that," said Jeff McNeill, a grad student at the university.
Braddock and other officials all refused to comment beyond the university's statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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