Archive for Football

Harvard vs. Yale Football 2014

“The Game”. The ancient rivalry actually meant something this year with Yale coming into the game 8-1 and Harvard undefeated, the Ivy League title was on the line. The game didn’t disappoint, Harvard won 31-24 in the final seconds.

Listening to the broadcast can be interesting as the commentators drop little bits of Ivy League recruiting information between plays. A few interesting takeaways:

Transferring in as an Ivy Athlete

Transferring into Harvard or Yale is even more competitive than being accepted as a freshman. For the Yale website, in a given year they receive over 1000 transfer applications and generally have room for 20-30 students. So that’s a 2% – 3% acceptance rate. The question comes up occasionally if the coach can offer any admissions support for an incoming transfer athlete. The answer is, yes.

The Yale quarterback, Morgan Roberts, had been recruited by Yale coming out of high-school but ended up at Clemson as a backup QB. At some point he apparently decided he’d rather be at Yale and was able to get a release from Clemson and re-initiate the recruiting conversation with the Yale coach. Morgan transferred in and has been a key part of Yale’s success this season. So we can say, yes it’s possible for a coach to support the application of a transfer athlete. But this support may be a little easier to come by as a strong quarterback than it would be for, say, a cross country runner or a lacrosse player.


Playing as a walk-on athlete

Another question that comes up is if it’s possible to walk-on as an Ivy football player, and if you do, will you see any playing time?  Again the answer is yes and yes. The final play of the game was an interception by Harvard’s defensive back Scott Peters.  Peter’s, according the Harvard Crimson, was a walk-on.  A walk-on, in Ivy League terms, means an athlete admitted without any sort of admissions support from the athletic department.  Peters, it seems, didn’t get a lot of playing time this year – but was on the field to make the final play of the biggest game of the year. Something he’ll remember for the rest of his life, no doubt.






Ivy League Football Academic Bands

Football recruits in the Ivy League have a slightly different set of rules than recruits in the other sports. An Ivy League football coach can recruit up to 30 players and those recruits must fall into one of 4 academic bands based on their academic index. Band 4 is the highest, which seems counter-intuitive, but that’s how they label it. A Band 4 athlete must have an Academic Index that falls within 1 standard deviation of the Academic Index of the general population of students at that school. So if the general AI is around 220, the Band 4 guys must be around 207. 8 of the coach’s 30 recruits must be Band 4. Next is Band 3 which goes down to 2 standard deviations off the mean index. Approximately 13 of the 30 recruits must be Band 3 or higher. That’s an index around 194 or better. (Standard deviations can’t be calculated precisely without knowing the exact distribution of all scores which is not public knowledge- so these benchmarks are educated guesses). 7 more recruits can be in band 2, which is 2.5 standard deviations. That’s around 180. Lastly, the coach is allowed to bring on 2 players that are at or above the 176 index floor.  So it’s:

Band 4: 8

Band 3 (or higher): 13

Band 2 (or higher): 7

Band 1 (or higher): 2

Total: 30

It’s interesting to note that the Ivy council that keeps tabs on such things may shift these numbers a bit to allow struggling programs to add a few recruits in the lower bands to help bolster the recruiting efforts and keep some parity in the league.