In 1988, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) established the Walter Byers Scholarship as a means of recognizing the contributions of the former executive director by encouraging excellence in the academic achievement of student-athletes. Each year, one male and one female student-athlete receive a $24,000 Walter Byers Scholarship in recognition of their excellent academic performance and potential for success in graduate study. It is intended that the individual named a Byers Scholar will be recognized as someone who has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for his or her accomplishments, and promises to be a future leader in his or her chosen field of professional service.
The Walter Byers Graduate Fellowship is separate and distinct from the NCAA Graduate Fellowship, which awards numerous annual awards with smaller stipends. The stipend for each Byers Fellowship is $24,000 for one academic year. If the graduate school in which the Byers scholar is enrolled demonstrates that the scholar’s performance and progress are satisfactory, the scholarship may be renewed for a second year. Thus, in a single year, scholarships worth $96,000 are awarded ($48,000 to current year recipients and $48,000 to previous year awardees for their second year of graduate study).
The program is administered by the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee, established by the NCAA membership and appointed by the NCAA Division I Management Cabinet and the Division II and III Boards of Directors. The committee will review nominations, contact finalists to be interviewed by the committee and select the final recipients.
All former student-athletes who earned an undergraduate degree from an NCAA member school are eligible to be nominated by that school for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, regardless of when they received their undergraduate degree.
To be considered, nominees must
Have an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.500 or better (based on a maximum of 4.000), or the equivalent in other recognized grading systems;
Have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at an NCAA member institution;
Be a senior or enrolled in graduate studies at an NCAA member institution;
Intend to apply for admission to a graduate program at a duly accredited nonprofit educational institution or to a professional graduate program at a professionally accredited law school, medical school or its equivalent, without restriction as to the national location of the institution;
Commit to full-time work toward a post-baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate professional degree;
Have demonstrated superior character and leadership;
Have demonstrated that participation in athletics and community service has been a positive influence on the candidate’s personal and intellectual development.