Friends of Harvard Athletics

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for Harvard Athletics. We're proud that our tradition of excellence-both on and off of the playing field-has been achieved by playing by the rules. This section will provide you with guidelines on following these rules and will help answer any questions you may have about contributing to the success of Harvard Athletics.

Check out the Compliance Rules of the Game to ensure you are staying “in bounds” and not inadvertently breaking an Ivy League or NCAA rule!

Harvard Compliance Rules of the Game

Definitions You Should Know

Representative or Friend of Harvard's Athletic Interests: If you are or have ever been a member of any group which supports or promotes the athletic program, if you have made financial donations to the athletic program, or if you have helped in any way to recruit athletes, you are considered a "representative or a friend of Harvard's athletic interests." Once you become a "representative" or a "friend," you retain that identity indefinitely.

Prospective Student-Athlete or Prospect: Any student who has started classes for the ninth grade, regardless of whether or not he or she is being recruited by Harvard. This term also applies to any student enrolled at a preparatory school or a two-year college.

Extra Benefits: Any benefit not equally available to all students and prospective students who are not student-athletes. Prospects and enrolled student-athletes may not receive any extra benefits from the institution or a representative of athletic interests. An extra benefit includes the provision of:

  • Cash or merchandise (or cash equivalent)
  • Tickets to a pro sporting event, movie, concerts, etc.
  • Athletic equipment or clothing
  • 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.).
Recruiting: Any solicitation of a prospect or a prospect's relatives for the purpose of securing the prospect's enrollment and ultimate participation in Harvard's Athletic Program. Recruiting by a friend or representative of Harvard's athletic interests is not allowed-they are prohibited from having any contact with a prospect. Only Harvard staff members can recruit. However, friends and representatives can have some involvement in the recruiting process. The following provides detailed information on what friends and representatives can and cannot do:

"Friends" Involvement with Prospects
The following are NCAA rules on what you can and cannot do regarding the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.


  • Observe a prospect's athletics contest as long as no contact is made with the prospect.
  • Talk to a prospect about Harvard if the prospect initiates a phone call to you, but refer all recruiting conversations about Harvard athletics to the respective coach.
  • Notify the Athletic Department or members of the coaching staff about outstanding prospects.
  • Attend a high school awards banquet or dinner as long as no recruiting contact is made with a prospective athlete.
  • Appear as a commentator on high school radio or television broadcasts.
  • Arrange for employment for prospective student-athletes after the student has accepted Harvard's offer of admission, provided the job does not begin until after the completion of the student's senior year of high school.


  • Provide any benefit to prospective student-athletes, even if it is available to all students. This includes, but is not limited to, cash or loans, promise of employment after college, use of an automobile, tangible items, etc.
  • Contact recruits or their parents, on- or off-campus, in person, by telephone or in writing. However, there are two exceptions. One, if you are a member of the Schools & Scholarship Committee, you may contact prospects for Admissions purposes only; you may not have a recruiting conversation with a prospect. Two, if you are an established family friend or neighbor of a prospect, you may continue that relationship but never have a recruiting conversation.
  • Contact the prospect's high school coach, principal, or guidance counselor for the purposes of evaluating or recruiting the prospect.
  • Visit the prospect's educational institution to pick up film/videotape or transcripts regarding the evaluation of the prospect's academic eligibility or athletic ability.
  • Invite prospective student-athletes, their high school coaches, or their parents to receptions.
  • Provide a meal at a restaurant for prospects and their parents.
"Friends" Involvement with Enrolled Student-Athletes
The following are NCAA rules pertaining to what you can and cannot do regarding the interaction with enrolled student-athletes, their families and the coaching staff.


  • Provide an occasional home meal to enrolled student-athletes (not prospects) and provide local transportation to your home with the Athletic Director's permission.
  • Provide a home meal and lodging at your home, and/or reasonable entertainment within 100 miles of the competition site to a Harvard team competing in your area on an away trip.
  • Provide lodging, meals, and transportation to Harvard coaches when they come to your community to contact and evaluate prospects.
  • Arrange for employment for enrolled student-athletes as long as there is no preferential treatment and the student only gets paid the going rate for work activities actually performed.
  • Join a Friends group to help fund special trips, recruiting and team functions.


  • Provide any benefit to enrolled students (which includes transportation, meals, housing, entertainment, etc.) that are not equally available to all students, even after their eligibility is exhausted.
  • Pay transportation expenses for the family of a prospect who is visiting Harvard.
  • Invite enrolled student-athletes or their parents to receptions.
  • Provide a meal at a restaurant for enrolled student-athletes or their parents.


This summer, an enrolled student-athlete is speaking at our hometown's alumni club, which is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Can I pay for her expenses?

YES. If the student-athlete is speaking at the alumni club in his or her hometown during vacation, you can pay for the athlete's expenses if the alumni club is in Massachusetts or within 100 miles of Harvard.

My Harvard Club is hosting a luncheon for prospective students. Some of these students are athletes and might decide to play for the Crimson if they are accepted. Can we still invite them to the luncheon?

YES. However, no recruiting presentation may take place and alumni may not have direct contact with any prospect regarding his or her interest in the athletic program. A Harvard Club or alumni organization may host a luncheon or dinner in for all prospective students (athletes and nonathletes) in that immediate locale as long as the purpose of the function is not related to athletics.

My neighbor's son is a prospect for Harvard's water polo team. Can I talk to him about Harvard's athletic program?

NO. While you can still maintain contact with this prospect, you cannot have a conversation about recruiting with him.

I know the women's basketball team will have to stay in Cambridge over the Thanksgiving holiday. Can I pay for their Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant in the Square?

YES. If a Harvard team has to stay on campus during the holidays because of competition, you may pay for the meal, BUT the money must go through the Athletic Department.

I'd like to help with recruiting. How can I?

You can help by identifying outstanding student-athletes in your area and letting Harvard coaches know about them. If they think the athlete has potential, then they will contact him or her. While you cannot contact prospects or their coaches and guidance counselors, you can attend their athletic contests.

How can I become more involved with Harvard Athletics?

You can join a Friends group to help fund special trips, recruiting, and team functions. Contact the Harvard Varsity Club, at (617) 495-3535 or hvc@fas.harvard.edu.