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Walter Byers Scholarship

The Walter Byers Scholar (also known as Walter Byers Scholarship, and Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship) program is a scholarship program that recognizes the top male and female student-athlete in NCAA sports and that is awarded annually by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It is considered to be the NCAA's highest academic award.[1][2] The NCAA initiated the Walter Byers Scholarship program in 1988 in recognition of the service of Walter Byers. The award is a postgraduate scholarship program designed to encourage excellence in academic performance by student-athletes. The recipients each year are the one male and one female student-athlete who has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for his or her achievements, and who promises to be a future leader in his or her chosen field of career service. Winners receive scholarships for postgraduate study.[3]


  • Details 1
  • Winners 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


As of 2011, the stipend for each Byers Scholarship is $24,000 for an academic year.[4] The scholarship amount is adjusted for the cost of living. The grant may be renewed for a second year based on academic progress. Financial need is not a factor in the granting of these scholarships. 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 postgraduate scholarship.[3] The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program is separate and distinct from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program, which provides numerous annual awards with smaller stipends.[3]

The five-person Walter Byers Scholarship Committee, established by the NCAA membership and appointed by the NCAA Divisions I, II and III Management Councils, administers the program. The committee membership is required to include at least one man and one woman, at least one member from each division and subdivision of Division I, and one member each from Division II and Division III.[5]

Three universities, track and field and cross country, except for 2002 winner, Kyle Eash, who was honored for track and field and football. Of the six football players, only one also won the Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete college football player; the Draddy has a stated objective of rewarding community service as well as athletics and academics. Although basketball players were the first representatives of a sport to sweep the awards, track and field was the first sport to do so twice.

Among the most recognized for post-athletic career accomplishments are Randal Pinkett and Rob Pelinka. Of the winners the one most notable for having gone professional in his or her sport is National Football League veteran Rob Zatechka, who later went on to medical school.[6]

Several of the winners have won other notable awards. The following are complete lists of dual winners of a selected set of notable awards:


The historical winners are as follows:[7]

Year Male Female
Athlete Sport School Athlete Sport School
1989 Richard Hall Basketball Ball State University Regina Cavanagh Track and field Rice University
1990 Dean Smith Basketball University of Maine Linda Popovich Volleyball Bowling Green State University
1991 J. David Brown Track and field
Cross country
University of Iowa Marie Roethlisberger Gymnastics University of Minnesota
1992 David Honea Cross country North Carolina State University Sigall Kassutto Gymnastics University of California, Berkeley
1993 Rob Pelinka Basketball University of Michigan Sheryl Klemme Basketball Saint Joseph's College (Indiana)
1994 Randal Pinkett Track and field Rutgers University Christa Gannon Basketball University of California, Santa Barbara
1995 Robert Zatechka Football University of Nebraska–Lincoln Carla Ainsworth Swimming Kenyon College
1996 Christopher Palmer Football St. John's University (Minnesota) Tracey Holmes Golf University of Kentucky
1997 Scott Keane Track and field University of Cincinnati Marya Morusiewicz Volleyball Barry University
1998 Robert "Brad" Gray Football Massachusetts Institute of Technology Marsha Harris Basketball New York University
1999 Samuel "Calvin" Thigpen Track and field
Cross country
University of Mississippi Gladys Ganiel Track and field
Cross country
Providence College
2000 Matthew Busbee Swimming Auburn University Anna Hallbergson Tennis Barry University
2001 Bradley Henderson Basketball University of Chicago Kimberly Black Swimming University of Georgia
2002 Kyle Eash Football
Track and field
Illinois Wesleyan University Claudia Veritas Lacrosse Wellesley College
2003 McLain "Mac" Schneider Football University of North Dakota Natalie Halbach Gymnastics University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2004 Joaquin Zalacain Tennis University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Corrin Drakulich Track and field University of Georgia
2005 Matthew Gunn Track and field
Cross country
University of Arkansas Sarah Dance Swimming Truman State University
2006 Bryan Norrington Track and field Colorado College Annie Bersagel Track and field
Cross country
Wake Forest University
2007 Dane Todd Football University of Nebraska–Lincoln Katie Kingsbury Tennis Washington and Lee University
2008 Dylan Carney Gymnastics Stanford University Brenna Burns Track and field
Cross country
Davidson College
2009 Craig Sheedy Diving University of Arizona Amy Massey Soccer University of Southern California
2010 Joshua Mahoney Football University of Northern Iowa Katherine Theisen Track and field
Cross country
University of St. Thomas
2011 J. David Gatz Swimming Ohio Wesleyan University Jessica Pixlar Track and field
Cross country
Seattle Pacific University
2012 Miles Batty Track and field
Cross Country
Brigham Young University Kelsey Ward Swimming Drury University
2013 Matt Horn Soccer Winthrop University Alexa Duling Track and field University of South Dakota
2014 Kyle Boden Football Emory and Henry College Karenee Demery Soccer California State University, Stanislaus
2015 Tofey James "T.J." Leon IV Swimming Auburn University Lucinda Kauffman Field Hockey Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program
  • 2007 finalists
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