Prospective Student-Athletes

Prospective Student-Athletes

Thank you for your interest in Harvard Athletics. If you are an individual who has begun classes for the 9th grade, or if you are a student enrolled at a preparatory school or a two-year college, then you are considered a "prospect." The following information will help you answer any questions you may have about playing for the Crimson.

NCAA Eligibility Center Registration

What do I need to do to be eligible to play on a Harvard intercollegiate athletic team?

You'll need to obtain both academic and medical clearance to practice and compete.

Academic Clearance

First, to compete at the NCAA Division I level, all incoming freshmen must be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. The Eligibility Center is an agency that provides initial-eligibility certification for all first-year student-athletes. To receive academic certification from the Eligibility Center, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Graduate from high school
  • A minimum sum score on the ACT or minimum combined score on the SAT
  • A high school grade point average of at least 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in a core curriculum of 16 courses. These include the following core courses**:
    • English - 4 years
    • Math - 3 years
    • Natural/Physical Science (incl. 1 lab) - 2 years
    • Social Science - 2 years
    • Additional English, Math or Natural/Physical Science - 1 year
    • Additional Academic Courses (from any category above, or foreign language, social studies, philosophy, computer science) - 4 years

To be cleared by the Eligibility Center, both American and foreign students must register with the Eligibility Center at In addition, you must send an official high school transcript demonstrating proof of graduation to the Eligibility Center directly from your high school and SAT/ACT test scores directly from the testing agency, which is typically The College Board.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved enhancements to the academic standards for incoming freshmen who wish to participate in Division I athletics, effective beginning August 1, 2016. The intent of these changes is to ensure that all student-athletes who come to campus are academically prepared for the rigors of a college classroom.

The following standards have been established for student-athletes planning to compete their freshmen year:

∙ Student-athletes must earn at least a 2.3 grade-point average in the required core courses and achieve a minimum standardized test score (ACT/SAT) according to the NCAA Initial Eligibility sliding scale.

∙ At least 10 of the required 16 core courses must be earned prior to the start of their senior year. Seven of those must be completed in English, math or science courses.

For more information regarding the new academic standards, please refer to the below documents:

NCAA Initial-Eligibility Resource Index

2016 NCAA Division 1 Initial-Eligibility Academic Requirements

Medical Clearance

Second, when you arrive on campus, you'll need to obtain medical clearance from University Health Services. In addition, you'll also have to complete all necessary paperwork and attend a compliance meeting at the beginning of the academic year.

Transfer Students

I'm thinking about transferring to Harvard from another school, and I would like to compete for the Crimson. What should I do?

You must obtain a written release from your school's Compliance Office and fax it to Shanna Kornachuk, Harvard's compliance coordinator at 617-496-9950. We are not allowed to speak with you until we receive this release, which gives us permission to contact you. Once we obtain this form, we will call you to discuss next steps.

General Questions

Does Harvard offer scholarships?

No. As an Ivy League institution, Harvard does not offer athletic or academic scholarships to students. However, Harvard does provide need-based financial aid to those students who demonstrate financial need.

If a Harvard athletic team is recruiting me, do I have to go through the same admissions process as other applicants?

Yes. All prospective student-athletes must be accepted by the Harvard Admissions Office in order to play for a Harvard athletic team. Since all Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships, there are no signing dates for the National Letter of Intent. You will be notified of your acceptance into Harvard at the same time as all other applicants. To learn more about the application process, visit

After my football game last week, a man who identified himself as a Harvard alum approached me and offered to pay for me and my family's expenses to travel to Harvard to visit the campus. We're pretty sure we have to decline, but we just want to make sure accepting the offer is not allowed.

NO. This is considered an "extra benefit." Extra benefits are benefits for prospective and enrolled student-athletes that are not equally available to all prospects or 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. An extra benefit includes the provision of any transportation, meals, housing, clothes, service, entertainment, or other benefit not equally available to all enrolled students and prospective students who are not athletes.

When can a coach call me?

With the exception of football, coaches are not allowed to call you until before July 1st, after you have completed your junior year. Coaches can then call you once a week. This is the general rule and there are exceptions for football, men's and women's basketball and ice hockey.

When can I call a coach?

If the call is paid at your own expense, then you can call coaches at any time.

Is it okay if I email a coach? Can I instant message or text with him or her?

Like phone calls, you can email a coach as much as you want. However, a coach will not be able to respond until September 1st of the start of your junior year in high school, with exceptions for men’s basketball and men’s ice hockey. A coach may not respond to a text message, instant message, or Facebook wall post at any time.

When can a coach contact me?

With the exception of football, a coach cannot meet with you on your high school campus u before July 1 after you have completed your junior year. Other exceptions include women’s ice hockey.

A few weeks ago, an assistant coach mentioned that the team might want to bring me to Harvard for an official visit. What exactly is an "official visit"?

An official visit is any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college or university. Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript and SAT, ACT, PACT, PSAT or PLAN score. The institution can pay for the following expenses:

  • Your transportation to and from the college
  • Room and meals (three per day) for you and your parents while you are visiting the school; and
  • Reasonable entertainment expenses, which includes three complimentary admissions tickets to a home athletics game.

What is an "unofficial" visit?

This is a visit to a college campus by you and your parents and paid for by you and your parents. Three complimentary tickets to a home athletics game are the only expenses you may receive from the college. You can make as many "unofficial" visits as you want and you can make these visits at any time. During an unofficial visit, the only time you cannot meet with a coach is during a dead period. A dead period is when a college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents during this time. Visit to learn more about the recruiting calendar for your sport.

For more information about playing on a Harvard intercollegiate athletic team, visit Harvard Recruiting.