In 1988, the National Collegiate Athletic Association established the Walter Byers Graduate 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.

General Eligibility

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;

  8. Enroll into a graduate degree program within five years of being named a Byers Scholar and

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

Awards from other sources will not disqualify an applicant, except that an awardee may not use more than one NCAA graduate 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.

Application Process

To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be nominated by the Davidson College faculty athletics representative (FAR), Prof. Donna Molinek. The annual application typically opens in September. Each NCAA member institution may nominate no more than three student-athletes per gender. It is the responsibility of the FAR or chief academic officer to ensure all sections of the nomination are submitted to the NCAA national office by the published annual deadline, which is typically in January.

Learn More

For more information, contact Prof. Donna Molinek at For additional resources, contact the Office of Fellowships at, or schedule an Office of Fellowships advising appointment with Gaylena Merritt, Director of Fellowships, through Handshake (login required). 

Davidson Walter Byers Scholar

2008 - Brenna Burns