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Heel Tough Blog: Tez Walker Ruling Comes Down

UNC Athletics

Thursdays of game weeks are supposed to be focused on final preparations for Saturday. This week in Chapel Hill, though, the attention was split between that and an ongoing pursuit of eligibility for Tez Walker.  Just a short time ago, the NCAA handed down a final ruling that will force Walker to sit out the entirety of the 2023 season.

Walker transferred to Carolina from Kent State this offseason after a productive 2022 season for the Golden Flashes. After catching 58 passes for 921 yards and eleven touchdowns, Walker got  the opportunity to transfer closer to home to be near his grandmother, who he has helped take care of since he was younger. The move closer to home was going to allow his grandmother to see him play college football for the first time, but she wasn’t able to do that this past weekend and may not be able to do it this entire season.

Walker, who announced his transfer to the Tar Heels in late December and enrolled in classes on January 9th, had his initial waiver request denied back in June according to Inside Carolina’s Greg Barnes. According to Barnes, the Tar Heels did appeal that decision and had it denied a little over a month prior to the revelation to the media on August 8th. As Mack Brown said during the press conference where the waiver denial was announced to the public, the school was submitting the more evidence to the committee as part of another round of appeals that were rejected last Thursday. After missing Saturday’s opener, Walker was able to get a meeting with a secondary committee to present his case once more, this time to a separate group that helps the NCAA to make decisions in cases like this.

Walker’s case seemed pretty cut and dry. The move closer home appeared to fit under the guidelines for a second transfer under the new rules, as did the issues that he has had with his mental health. That didn’t even take into account the fact that his head coach, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach all departed in the offseason for different jobs. The most important element of this though should have been the timing of the transfer, though. At the time of his transfer and many others who were also turned down, it was impossible for those players who enrolled prior to January 11th to know that they would not meet the new guidelines.

All of that wasn’t enough to make him eligible, though, and means he will now have to wait until 2024 to play for his dream school in front of his family and, hopefully, his grandmother.

Both Mack Brown and Bubba Cunningham have released the following statements on the ruling.

UNC Athletics

@BubbaUNC- Twitter


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