A 50-year-old investor and director of the Scribner Book Companies Inc. was identified yesterday as the subject of investigations by Ivy League universities concerning alleged improper gifts and favors to atheltes.

G. Richard Schieffelin told the New York Daily News tha he had given financial assistance and "counseling" to approximately 50 students over a period of 25 years at four schools: Harvard, Princeton, Yale Cornell.

"Only a handful of players knew about him and they kept it pretty quiet," said a Yale football player who asked not to be identified. "He threw parties at his house (near the Yale campus), and helped guys out. My impression is that Dick is a rich man with little else to do with his money."

It was reported Thursday that serveral Ivy League schools were investigating allegations that, over a period of years, athletes had received favors -- some financial -- possibly in violation of NCAA rules.

Schieffelin, reached by phone at his New Haven, Conn., home yesterday, had no comment. Yale Athletic Director Frank Ryan said he did not wish to make a public statement.

At Harvard, Dean John Fox said that 10 undergraduates are being questioned; not all are varsity athletes.

"This is not limited to the athletic department," Fox said. "It's a whole college matter. We've involved the school's general counsel, the dean of admissions, the athletic director in this investigation. Other personnel are aware of it.

"We'll report to the Ivy League our findings. Right now I don't want to characterize whatever these students' relationships with this man might be."

The schools are not accused of any wrongdoing. Harvard, Princeton and Yale have initiated investigations into, among other things, free meals and expense-paid trips that Schieffelin allegedly arranged for the athletes and other students at the four schools.

It is a violation of Ivy League rules for students receiving financial aid and for all athletes -- to accept money from anyone except members of their family, without reporting it to the school.

At Yale, where the rumors of gift giving surfaced in December 1980, approximately 30 students are being questioned, according to one New Haven source.

The number of involved students at Princeton is estimated to be 15 to 18 at any one time.

Yale released an official statement on the school's investigations Tuesday, which read, in part: "Last month, President (A. Bartlett) Giamati, acting on behalf of the Ivy League presidents, notified the executive director of the NCAA of rumors that an individual . . . may possibly have given some students at several Ivy Group institutions, including Yale, gifts or favors in a way that might have constituted violations of NCAA or Ivy League rules for students who are athletes."

The News quoted sources at Princeton as saying Schieffelin employed several football players who were on financial aid, lent as much as $500 to players and might have arranged expense-paid trips to the Caribbean for the football players.

However, a former Princeton football captain said: "The reason I came to the Ivy League is because I'd heard it was so pure. In fact, we used to the Ivy League is because I'd heard it was so pure. In fact, we used to laugh about things like picking up envelopes from the coach's office because that just didn't happen. Either that, or I've been missing my envelopes."