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Citing Financial Aid Concerns, Men's Basketball Recruit Allen Decommits

By Jacob D. H. Feldman, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard men’s basketball recruit Noah Allen rescinded his verbal commitment to the Crimson and reopened his recruitment on Monday, citing financial aid concerns.

“My family can’t afford 60 grand a year, and that’s what the financial aid people told us it would cost,” Allen said. “It broke my heart. I really wanted to go to Harvard, but the numbers didn’t add up.”

Allen, ranked as the 29th best small forward in this year’s senior class by ESPN, fell in love with Harvard early on in the recruiting process.

“It wasn’t even really about basketball,” Allen said. “The prestige, that’s why I committed.”

The current high school senior committed in late July, following a visit to campus.

“I got there and I fell in love with it,” Allen said. “It wasn’t what I expected, but I knew it was where I wanted to go.”

But Allen's quest to attend Harvard was thwarted at roughly the same time by the financial aid office’s projected contribution package.

“One reason I committed [in July] was that [the financial aid office] said it would cost five or ten percent of my family’s income,” Allen said. “And then they came back [asking for] the whole thing and it caught [my family] off guard a little bit. We just can’t do that. My parents can’t go into debt.”

At that point, Allen tried everything he could to get the office to reconsider their estimate, but to no avail.

“They thought they could get [the price] down, but it just didn’t happen,” Allen said. “We tried everything, but they said, ‘No, we can’t give you anything.’”

Allen, who said he has a 3.9 GPA at Palma School in Salinas, Calif., was confident that he would meet the academic requirements needed to get admitted to Harvard.

But due to financial concerns, he and his family finally concluded Monday that his dream wasn’t going to come true. That night, Allen tweeted, “Doing what I just did sucks.”

This isn’t the first time that the Crimson has lost a prized recruit due to issues of financial aid, as the Ivy League does not allow athletic scholarships. In 2009, Rod Odom Jr., a top 100 prospect in the class of 2012, chose to enroll at Arizona rather than Harvard. He later recommitted to Vanderbilt.

“The thing that prevented Harvard from being in the last two was when we got the financial aid indication, which—compared to a full scholarship—couldn’t be a consideration for us,” Rod Odom Sr. told The Crimson in March.

Allen reportedly holds offers from St. Mary’s, Colorado, San Diego State, Washington State, Utah, Rice, Santa Clara, and U.C. Davis, as well Ivy League foes Yale, Penn, and Brown. He had been coach Tommy Amaker's second commited recruit for the future class of 2017, following the March commitment of forward Zena Edosomwan.

According to Allen, Penn has informed him that he would pay significantly less if he enrolled there—roughly $35,000—but Allen said he was not sure what his top choice is at this point.

“I’m wide open right now,” Allen said. “I’m back to square one.”

Despite the difficult breakup with Harvard, Allen didn’t have any hard feelings towards for the school.

“I wish [Harvard] the best,” he said.  “I’m just sorry it didn’t work out. When I was there, I loved it. If I had a choice, I’d choose to go there again.”

—Staff writer Jacob D. H. Feldman can be reached at jacobfeldman@college.harvard.edu.

—Follow him on Twitter @jacobfeldman4.

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