1917 Harvard Crimson football
Conference Independent
1917 record 3–1–3
Head coach Wingate Rollins (1st year)
Home stadium Harvard Stadium
« 1916 1918 »

The 1917 Harvard Crimson football team, also known as the Harvard Informals,[1] represented Harvard University in the 1917 college football season. The Crimson finished with a 3–1–3 record under first-year head coach Wingate Rollins.[2] Walter Camp did not select any Harvard players as first-team members of his 1917 College Football All-America Team.[3]

The team was known as the "Informals" for legal reasons. Prior to the United States' entry into World War I, the team had signed binding contracts to play games with various universities and colleges. When war was declared, the team cancelled its season and cancelled the contracts. When students decide to play football after all, the team was denoted as an "informal" team to fulfill the desire for football without opening the team up to suits for breach of contract.[4]


October 6at Dean Academy Franklin, MAW 27–0 [1]
October 13 Bumpkin Island Naval ReserveW 35–04,000[5]
October 20 1st Maine Heavy Artillery
  • Harvard Stadium
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
W 13–0 [6]
October 27at Depot BrigadeT 0–0 [7]
November 3 Portland Naval Reserve
  • Soldiers' Field
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
T 0–020,000[8]
November 10 Camp Devens
  • Harvard Stadium
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
T 0–0400[9]
November 17at Newport Naval Reserves Newport, RIL 0–14 [10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Harvard Informals Shut Out Dean, 27-0: Schoolboys Unable to Smother the Line Play of Collegians". The Boston Globe: p. 15. October 7, 1917.
  2. "Harvard Football Yearly Records". Harvard University. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  3. "Championship Teams Picked for Season". Fort Wayne Sentinel. November 29, 1919.
  4. "Harvard's "Informal" Team Avoids Legal Consequences". The Sunday Star (Washington, D.C.): p. V-1. November 4, 1917.
  5. "Crimson Tears Big Holes In Naval Reserves' Lines, Winning by 35 to 0". The Boston Globe: p. 10. October 14, 1917.
  6. "Harvard Wins in Stadium, 13-0: Beats 1st Maine Heavies in Football Battle". The Boston Globe: p. 1. October 21, 1917.
  7. "Depot Brigade Holds Harvard To 0-0 Score". THe Boston Globe: p. 16. October 28, 1917.
  8. "Scoreless Tie at Soldiers Field". The Boston Globe: p. 15. November 4, 1917.
  9. "Harvard, Within Scoring Distance, Misses Chances". The Boston Globe: p. 11. November 11, 1917.
  10. "Harvard Informals Beaten at Newport". The Boston Globe: p. 16. November 18, 1917.
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