Citing new information presented by the University of North Carolina, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved UNC wide receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker’s transfer waiver. Walker is now eligible to play for the remainder of the season.
NCAA rules allow athletes to transfer one time. Walker enrolled at North Carolina Central University in 2020 but never played as NCCU canceled its football season due to COVID-19. Subsequently, Walker transferred to Kent State University, becoming one of the best wide receivers in the country.
After the 2022 season, Kent State football coach Sean Lewis left the university to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado. Originally from Charlotte, Walker elected to transfer again to be closer to home, enrolling at UNC on January 9, 2023.
On January 11th, the NCAA altered the guidelines for multi-time transfers, making it more difficult for players to acquire a transfer waiver. On August 8th, before the football season, the NCAA denied Walker’s waiver to play. The university appealed, but the NCAA denied the appeal in September.
In its announcement, the NCAA reasoned that the decision to approve the waiver was based on new information UNC had not previously presented. Interestingly, in September, after the NCAA denied the university’s appeal, the UNC Board of Trustees met to discuss options for the Tez Walker, including legal options. While it is unclear what occurred during the meeting (discussions were in private session), North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein admitted to writing a letter last week to the NCAA regarding Walker’s eligibility.
The Attorney General’s letter may be entirely coincidental, but the NCAA’s statement leaves everyone wondering what information triggered the NCAA to reverse course. Due to the NCAA reversing course, more public universities may lean on state/legal resources to pressure the NCAA into reviewing their actions and decisions.