Attorney Calls For UNC To Challenge The NCAA, Threaten To Play Currently Ineligible Transfer

A North Carolina logo in Kenan Memorial Stadium.

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The UNC football team continues to await a ruling on ineligible transfer Tez Walker. Just days away from its season opener against South Carolina, the wide receiver’s playing status remains uncertain.

Walker has been in limbo all offseason following changes to the NCAA’s transfer guidelines. Many around the sport are now calling for a ruling from President Charlie Baker, with one attorney and NCAA advocate suggesting drastic measures.

Tez Walker is an interesting case.

The pass catcher first enrolled at NC Central in Durham, just two hours from his hometown of Charlotte. When the program canceled its football season in 2020, Walker transferred to Kent State.

There, he played two seasons with the Golden Flashes before head coach Sean Lewis left to take the offensive coordinator role at Colorado this past offseason. At this same time, Walker’s play was beginning to be recognized by those outside the program following a 951-yard, 11-touchdown campaign in the MAC.

Transitioning through uncertainty amid a coaching change while also looking to capitalize on his productive 2022 season, Walker entered the transfer portal.

This time, he ended up back in his home state of North Carolina with Mack Brown and the Tar Heels.

Why is Tez Walker ineligible?

At the time of that decision, players were free to leave a previous school should their head coaches move on. Also, waivers could be applied for athletes making their second transfer from a four-year institution, with reasons for the transfer including medical hardship/family care.

In Walker’s case, he listed his grandmother as a reason for his return home. The wideout was her caretaker prior to leaving for college as she suffers from scoliosis. The waiver, in theory, would’ve given Walker immediate eligibility for the 2023 season.

Two days after he enrolled at UNC, though, the NCAA updated its transfer guidelines.

No longer could the medical hardship be applied. Instead, only reasons “relating to physical or mental well-being; due to exigent circumstances outside the student-athlete’s control; or assertions involving diagnosed education impacting disabilities” would be considered.

As a result, Walker’s waiver was denied.

Mack Brown has appealed the decision, and now he awaits an official ruling from the NCAA. That appeal came at the beginning of the month.

Now, just two days away from the season opener, he’s yet to hear back.

Many around the sport have been vocal about the subject, including a few major media personalities.

College GameDay host Rece Davis said, “This one should be easy. And he should be cleared. Like yesterday.”

ESPN’s Matt Miller wrote, “North Carolina plays on Saturday and WE STILL don’t know if Tez Walker gets to play. Come on, NCAA.”

One North Carolina attorney is taking things a step further, though.

NCAA advocate suggests UNC play its ineligible transfer.

Bob Orr, a retired Supreme Court justice and NCAA advocate, says the football team should threaten the NCAA and force its hand. Orr appeared on the Ovies and Giglio podcast to give his thoughts on the situation.

Orr has represented college players in similar cases in the past, and he believes that giving the NCAA a push goes a long way in getting a decision.

“In actuality, the decision of whether to play Tez Walker is UNC’s decision. If they want to play him, by golly, put him in a uniform and put him on the field. Tell the NCAA they think they’re wrong in how they are applying this transfer rule, and if they want to litigate it, fine. UNC will litigate it.

“As we know, UNC has not been hesitant to hire copious numbers of high-priced lawyers to fight the NCAA, and frankly, they’ve been pretty successful.”

We all remember the Tar Heels fighting the NCAA after being found to have created fake classes, some of which student-athletes were enrolled in. After lawyering up, they got away with not even a slap on the wrist.

Orr continued to say a threat to the NCAA could go a long way in getting the preferred outcome.

“If UNC had the backbone to quietly whisper in [NCAA President] Charlie Baker’s ear, ‘You know, Charlie? We’re going to play him. If you guys want to do something about it, bring it on,’ I suspect there would be a quick resolution.

“In my experience… any time independent counsel starts poking the NCAA, and saying, ‘We’re coming after you,’ somehow it gets resolved.”

Essentially, Orr is telling UNC to play its ineligible transfer and see what the NCAA does about it. We’ll see if that happens on Saturday.

The Tar Heels and Gamecocks will face off in primetime in Walker’s hometown of Charlotte. College GameDay will be in attendance as the border rivals kick off their seasons.