Harvard University has suspended its men's football team over sexual comments made about members of the women's team.

A 2012, document uncovered by university newspaper the Harvard Crimson, included female players rated according to their attractiveness and sexually explicit comments.

University President Drew Faust called the comments "appalling", and said the behaviour was not isolated but had continued into the present season.

The current Ivy League leaders will forfeit the rest of their games for the season.

In what was allegedly an annual tradition, the men's team would rate female players out of 10 for attractiveness, and guess which sexual position they preferred. The document included pictures of each of the women's team players.

According to the Harvard Crimson, the 2012 documents were until recently available online through a former team's Google Group.

Faust wrote that she "was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men's soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals".

Ms Faust added in a statement: "The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard's view that both the team's behaviour and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community."

After the original story was published, the women subjected to the comments said they were "appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance".

In an opinion piece published in the Crimson, they said: "More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives."

The men's soccer coach Pieter Lehrer wrote in a statement to the Crimson that the team was "beyond disappointed that our season has ended in this way, but we respect the decision made by our administration".