Current Student-Athletes

This section of the site will help answer any questions you may have regarding eligibility, extra benefits, recruiting and insurance. You can also find this information in the Harvard University Student-Athlete Handbook.


Now that I've completed my freshman year at Harvard, what do I need to do to make sure I'm eligible for competition next semester?

As an upperclassman, your academic record at Harvard determines your academic eligibility for competition. All students must be enrolled full-time, which means enrolled in at least three half courses every semester. It is important that during the Add/Drop period, you do not drop below three half courses. In addition, you must pass an average of three half-courses during each of the previous semesters, AND pass a total of six half-courses from the beginning of the previous fall term, in order to be eligible for competition.

There are also forms that you must complete before you are able to draw equipment, participate in tryouts or practice, and compete. These forms are completed online:

  • Harvard/Ivy League Eligibility Form and Financial Statement
  • NCAA Student-Athlete Statement
  • NCAA Drug Testing Consent Form
  • NCAA Foreign Student Questionnaire (international students and those who have lived and/or competed abroad only)

I'm a junior majoring in English and I've just decided to major in Spanish as well. This might require me to stay at Harvard for an extra semester. Since I didn't play football during my first year at Harvard, I would like to compete during the fifth season of my sport if I have to stay for another semester. Is this possible?

Harvard stipulates that you must have a valid academic reason for extending your residency on campus beyond eight terms. If you are planning to use a 5th year of eligibility, Ivy League rules require that you meet with Shanna Kornachuck of Compliance, and Tom Dingman, Harvard's eligibility officer and Associate Dean of the College, before applying for a ninth term waiver. If you decide to proceed after this meeting, your request must be approved by your Senior Tutor and Tom Dingman, and then by the Ivy League.

Extra Benefits

What should I do if a member of an alumni club offers me tickets a Red Sox game? Can I take them?

NO. This is considered an "extra benefit." Extra benefits are benefits for enrolled student-athletes that are not equally available to all Harvard students. If you accept any of these benefits, then you may be in violation of the NCAA's principle of amateurism and you could be deemed ineligible. Other examples of extra benefits include:

  • Cash or merchandise (or cash equivalent)
  • Tickets to a pro sporting event, movie, concerts, etc.
  • Athletic equipment or clothing (outside of regular team apparel from the Harvard Equipment Room)
  • Any type of benefit from a booster or alum (i.e. meal). All an alumni club can do for you is help arrange employment, either during the summer or after graduation, as long as you are paid at the normal rate and for work activities you actually perform.
  • Loan of money
  • Use of an automobile or free/reduced travel
  • Any type of benefit from a former teammate/student-athlete beyond those similar in nature that occurred while both were in college (movie, meal, etc.).

Also, even if the same benefit is available to non-athletes, DO NOT accept any type of gift or benefit from anyone-an Alumni Club, booster, etc.-either prior to, during, or after enrollment. It is best to check with Shanna Kornachuck in the Compliance Office if you are unsure about receiving extra benefits.

A Harvard alum approached me about working for his company in New York City during the summer? Can I accept the job?

YES. As stated above, all an alumni or booster can do for you is arrange employment, either during the summer or after graduation, as long as you are paid at the normal rate and for work activities you actually perform.


When I was a senior in high school, I played basketball with a very talented sophomore. Well, that sophomore is now a senior in high school, can I call him and tell him about Harvard? I think he would be a good fit for our team.

NO. Under no circumstances should student athletes call a prospect (anyone who has begun classes for the 9th grade) at the direction of a coach or receive expenses to do so. Enrolled-student athletes are prohibited from engaging in the recruiting process with a few limited exceptions. Student-athletes can receive calls at the expense of the prospect or write or e-mail the prospect. The NCAA also prohibits student-athletes from calling prospects as part of the regular admissions process, even if it is part of the normal admissions process.

A former high school teammate called last night to ask me a couple of questions about playing for Harvard's field hockey team. Is it okay if I answered her questions?

YES. Student-athletes can receive calls at the expense of the prospect. You can also exchange emails with a prospect.


As a student-athlete do I get health insurance from the Harvard Athletic Department? Does Harvard pay for my medical costs if I get injured in a game or practice?

NO. The University requires that all students have adequate medical insurance. Regardless of your insurance status, you may enroll in the Harvard Student Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. If you are injured during a game or practice or become ill, and you are prescribed drugs for treatment of the ailment, covering the cost of treatments, medical tests, and the prescriptions is your responsibility, not the Athletic Department's. You should review your individual insurance policy to determine the amount of coverage for medical costs.