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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. The 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 program is administered by the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee, established by the NCAA membership and appointed by the NCAA Divisions I, II and III Management Councils.
The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program is separate and distinct from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program. 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 satisfactory performance and progress, the grant may be renewed for a second year.
The following documents should be assembled and forwarded by the faculty athletics representative (FAR) or chief academics officer to the NCAA national office: the application form, to be completed and signed by the student-athlete and the faculty athletics representative (FAR) or chief academics officer of the nominating institution; an autobiographical essay outlining the nominee's 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; separate factual lists of principal activities, honors, and community service while in college; 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; and an official transcript of the nominee's complete undergraduate collegiate record, provided by the institution the nominee has attended.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees should have an overall undergraduate cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better; have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at an NCAA member institution; be a graduating senior or be enrolled in graduate study at an NCAA member institution while completing the last year of eligibility per NCAA Bylaw 14.2, whichever comes later; 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; be committed to work on a full-time basis toward a graduate degree or toward a post baccalaureate professional degree; have evidenced superior character and leadership; have demonstrated that participation in athletics 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 enroll into a graduate degree program within five years of being named a Byers Scholar.
Students who wish to be nominated should contact Prof. Fred Smith, Davidson's faculty athletics representative.
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.
Applications are by nomination only. Applications are available on-line in September of each year and the completed applications are due back to the national office in late January.
Brenna Burns (psychology)