NCAA right their wrong, Tez Walker ruled eligible
By Ross Love
On Thursday, the NCAA announced that North Carolina wide receiver Tez Walker would be eligible for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Up to this point, Walker had been denied eligibility by the NCAA as he was classed as a two-time transfer. Per NCAA rules, a player can only receive immediate eligibility after one transfer. A further transfer results in sitting out a year, unless the player has graduated.
The catch for Tez Walker is that he started his career at North Carolina Central in 2020. However, the program opted out of the season due to the pandemic. So Walker didn’t play a single snap for the Eagles.
There were doubts over the future of NC Central’s football program after the opt-out. So, Walker transferred to Kent State, where he played two seasons.
After the 2022 season, Walker wanted to be closer to his family. So decided to transfer back to his home state and go to North Carolina.
It was the belief that because Tez hadn’t played football for North Carolina Central, he wouldn’t be considered a two-time transfer.
He was named to the preseason All-ACC team, and there was a real buzz around Chapel Hill for his arrival.
Then the NCAA stepped in and denied Tez Walker his eligibility waiver. Ruling him a two-time transfer.
The decision caused a wave of backlash. Including a seething, public letter from UNC head coach Mack Brown.
A statement from UNC HC Mack Brown on Tez Walker pic.twitter.com/ngm5jKlL20— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) September 7, 2023
The decision came as a result of the NCAA trying to tighten up their rules regarding transfers. It’s understandable, as the transfer portal has essentially become a college football free agency.
But they picked the wrong player to try to make an example of, as the hypocrisy from an already under-fire governing body was on full display.
They were trying to rob Walker the right to play, when JT Daniels is playing for his third school in three years, and the fourth school in his career. Kedon Slovis is also playing for his third school in three years.
But no. How dare Walker try and PLAY for his second school. And how dare he have legitimate reasons for both of his transfers.
His teammates and the school stood by him. His new QB1 Drake Maye wore a Tez Walker #9 jersey during his post game interviews after defeating South Carolina in week one.
Tez was even an honorary captain for a Tarheels ice hockey game.
The love and support he got was moving.
The Eligible Ruling
Finally, the NCAA relented. On Thursday they righted their wrong and ruled Tez eligible to play immediately.
They cited new information received from UNC as the reason for their 180. They claimed that had North Carolina provided them with this information from the start, then Tez Walker would not have had to sit out the Tarheels’ first four games.
Bubba Cunningham, the North Carolina Athletic Director refuted this claim. He stated that all information and documentation was provided to the NCAA at the time.
Believe whatever side you want.
Some may say better late than never. But the Tez Walker situation should have never gotten to this.
Regardless, Tez Walker will make his North Carolina debut this Saturday in Chapel Hill when the Tarheels host Syracuse.
And he will receive a heartwarming ovation.
Feature image – Twitte/X @_tezthe9oat
A lifelong football player and fan based in the North of Scotland, Ross is a staunch member of the Longhorn and Cowboy faithful. Covering all things College Football and NFL related for several years, you can follow Ross on Twitter @rosslove22