The North Carolina football team is set to kick off its 2023 season on Saturday with a primetime matchup against border rival South Carolina. Unfortunately, the team is still uncertain about the status of one of its top playmakers.
The NCAA has yet to issue a decision on the eligibility status of transfer wide receiver Tez Walker. The slow movement has led to intense criticism from fans and media online.
Walker heads to Chapel Hill after spending two seasons at Kent State. The pass catcher exploded as a sophomore, hauling in 58 receptions for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns. Following that all-conference performance, he opted to return closer to his Charlotte, NC home and play in the ACC.
Part of the reasoning behind the transfer decision was to get closer to his grandmother, who has yet to watch him play in person due to her severe scoliosis. Prior to attending college, Walker had been her caretaker.
The receiver was expected to give the Heels a boost on offense, potentially developing into Drake Maye’s top target, but unfortunately, his playing status remains in question.
The NCAA denied Walker’s preseason waiver to become immediately eligible.
The issue comes from this being the pass catcher’s second transfer from a four-year university. He initially enrolled at NC Central, but left after the team cancelled its 2020 season.
He then left Kent State after his head coach bolted for Colorado.
In the recent past, waivers could be issued to forego certain transfer requirements, granting players immediate playing status should they be transferring due to medical hardship, financial hardship, and so forth.
Shortly after Walker enrolled at UNC, though, the NCAA adjusted those guidelines.
There are three reasons why an undergraduate transfer waiver will be considered in the future for any multiple-time transfers, effective for the 2023-24 eligibility:
- For reasons related to the student-athletes’ physical or mental well-being;
- Due to exigent circumstances outside the student-athlete’s control (e.g. physical or sexual assault or discrimination based on a protected class); or
- Assertions involving diagnosed education impacting disabilities
The reasoning behind the change was to cut down on the number of waivers being issued each year as transfer numbers continue to climb. Walker seems to be caught on the negative side of the ruling.
UNC has appealed but hasn’t heard back from the NCAA.
Mack Brown appealed the initial decision, which came earlier this month, but he’s yet to be given an update one way or the other.
Many have been in Tez Walker’s corner on the subject, and they’ve taken to social media to blast the NCAA for not making a decision with the season opener just days away.
It is quite honestly absurd the NCAA has not made a ruling yet, five days from kickoff. https://t.co/YL5NAVRP5f
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) August 28, 2023
NCAA: Why doesn’t anyone take us serious anymore??
Also NCAA: https://t.co/K6hZOYYuGX
— Trevor McCue (@trevormccue) August 28, 2023
The NCAA should not be making these decisions. https://t.co/W06i6XEILO
— Michael Grant (@MichaelGrant_CJ) August 28, 2023
— Zachary T. Smith (@zsmithgwu) August 28, 2023
Come on, NCAA. This is ludicrous. https://t.co/f9izEI1FJ0
— Nevin (@NVizion28) August 28, 2023
We’ll see if the NCAA makes a decision on the wideout before Week 1.