Through the award of postgraduate scholarships, the National Collegiate Athletics Association seeks to honor student athletes who have excelled academically.
The NCAA awards $7,500 grants to support the first year of full-time graduate studies to 87 men and 87 women annually. Other awards include thirteen $6,000 scholarships to ethnic minorities and thirteen to women for college graduates who will be entering a sports administration or related program that will assist the applicant in pursuing a career in intercollegiate coaching, sports medicine, athletics administration, or other careers that provide direct services to intercollegiate athletics. The Byers Scholarship, awarded to one man and one woman each year, is $24,000. The Jim McKay Scholarship Program offers $10,000 scholarships to one male and one female student-athlete who have an outstanding level of academic achievement and an interest in pursuing a career in sports communication.
All applicants must be U.S. citizens who are student athletes in their last year of intercollegiate competition at NCAA member institutions. Candidates for the general Postgraduate Scholarship must have achieved a 3.2 GPA and be nominated by the faculty athletics representative or director of athletics of an NCAA member institution. Consideration for either the Byers or Jim McKay Scholarships requires a 3.5 GPA and a campus nomination.
NCAA seeks to award student athletes who have performed with distinction as members of varsity teams and who have also excelled academically and been involved in extracurricular activities. Applicants for Minority and Women's Scholarships must also demonstrate commitment to pursuing careers in intercollegiate athletics and promise for success in such careers. Byers Scholarship candidates are selected for special academic excellence, good character, leadership, and citizenship. Jim McKay scholars must demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, character, and a commitment to the communications field. Awards are not need-based.
Students are nominated by faculty athletics representatives or directors of NCAA member institutions. Applications are first screened at a district level. Those recommended for further consideration are reviewed by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee, which makes the final selection. There are several deadlines each year, from winter through spring--the earliest deadlines are in December.