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Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program

In 1988, the National Collegiate Athletic Association established the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program as a means of recognizing the contributions of the former executive director through encouraging excellence in academic performance by student-athletes. Under this program, one male and one female student-athlete are annually awarded a postgraduate scholarship in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and potential for success in postgraduate study. It is intended that an individual named a Byers Scholar will be recognized as one who has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for his or her achievements, and promises to be a future leader in his or her chosen field of career service.

The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program is separate and distinct from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program, which provides numerous annual awards with smaller stipends. The stipend for each Byers Scholarship is $24,000 for an academic year. The scholarship amount will be reviewed every two years so that the purchasing power of the award will remain reasonably close to the award as initially conceived in 1988.  If the graduate school where the Byers Scholar is enrolled provides evidence of the scholar's satisfactory performance and progress, the grant may be renewed for a second year. Therefore, in any single year, $96,000 worth of scholarships are awarded ($48,000 to the current year's recipients and $48,000 to the previous year's awardees for their second year of graduate school).

Final award is contingent upon acceptance and attendance at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution; stipends are paid through the institution in which the Byers Scholar is enrolled for graduate study.  To defer the scholarship for any reason, a Byers Scholar must submit a written request to the committee liaison for approval. Financial need shall not be a factor in the granting of these scholarships. Awards from other sources will not disqualify an applicant, except that an awardee may not use more than one NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

The program is administered by the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee, established by the NCAA membership and appointed by the NCAA Division I Administration Cabinet and Divisions II and III Management Councils. The committee will review the nominations, contact the finalists for an interview by the committee and select the final recipients.

If you satisfy the qualifications, please contact your faculty athletics representative (FAR) or chief academics officer about obtaining his or her nomination.

Qualifications:

To be eligible for consideration, nominees shall:

  1. Have an overall undergraduate cumulative grade-point average of 3.500 or better (based on a maximum 4.000), or the equivalent in other recognized grading systems;
  2. Have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at an NCAA member institution;
  3. Be a graduating senior or be enrolled in graduate study at an NCAA member institution;
  4. Have intentions of applying for admission into a graduate degree program at a properly accredited, nonprofit educational institution or into a post-baccalaureate professional degree program at a professionally accredited law school, medical school, or the equivalent, without restriction as to the national site of the institution;
  5. Be committed to work on a full-time basis toward a graduate degree or a post- baccalaureate professional degree;
  6. Have evidenced superior character and leadership;
  7. Have demonstrated that participation in athletics and community service has been a positive influence on the nominee’s personal and intellectual development.  Relative success in athletics is important but not of overriding significance; and
  8. Enroll into a graduate degree program within five years of being named a Byers Scholar.


United States citizenship is not a required criterion to satisfy eligibility requirements.

Financial need shall not be a factor in the granting of these scholarships.  Awards from other sources will not disqualify an applicant, except that an awardee may not use more than one NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Evidence of acceptance into a graduate degree program or a post-baccalaureate professional degree program may be submitted after the notification of an award, but must be supplied by the institution in which the Byers Scholar enrolls for graduate work before the funding of the scholarship. If the initial awardee is not admitted to an appropriate graduate program, the award will be withdrawn and an alternate will receive the award.

Nominating Instructions:

An official transcript(s) of the nominee’s complete undergraduate collegiate record, provided by the institution(s) the nominee has attended.

The faculty athletics representative (FAR) or chief academics officer should complete the application not later than January 15, 2014.

Walter Byers Scholarship Committee Roster

For more information, please contact Lori Thomas at the NCAA national office at 317/917-6683 or by e-mail at lthomas@ncaa.org

  1. Only the faculty athletics representative or the chief academics officer at the NCAA member institution in which the nominee is or was a varsity student-athlete shall make nominations.
  2. Separate applications shall be completed for each student-athlete who is nominated from the same NCAA member institution.  There is no limit to the number of qualified candidates that an institution can nominate.
  3. The documents described below will be completed online by the faculty athletics representative or chief academics officer:
    1. The application form, to be completed by the student-athlete and the faculty athletics representative or chief academics officer of the nominating institution;
    2. A personal essay outlining the nominee’s short and long-term goals, explaining the relationship of the proposed postgraduate study to these goals and describing the nominee’s personal and intellectual development, including the role played in this development by intercollegiate athletics.  This statement shall be authored by the nominee;
    3. Factual lists of:  1) principal activities while in college [excluding community activities],  2) athletics honors while in college [including athletics records, prizes, scholarships and offices held]  3) academic honors while in college and  4) principle involvement in community activities with dates while in college.  For the community activities list, please indicate the number of hours per week, weeks per year and the number of years of involvement. If you are referencing an activity by its formal name, please provide a brief explanation of the project. Please do not substitute a resume in lieu of these lists and please do not include any one item on more than one list;
  4. Four recommendations, one of which must be from a faculty member teaching in the discipline of the nominee’s baccalaureate degree and one from a person in a position to judge the nominee’s contribution to intercollegiate athletics.  Enter only the e-mail addresses into the online system.