Tez Walker’s NCAA eligibility subject of closed-door UNC trustee meeting. What we know

North Carolina athletic and administrative leaders huddled Monday in a closed session of the UNC board of trustees to discuss how to best handle the eligibility situation with wide receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker.
UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz called it an “important meeting” but offered few details following the 90-minute session.
“We’re keeping all options on the table for how to support our student-athletes at Carolina and felt we needed some advice from both our legal counsel here and some outside counsel we’ve brought in to help us with these matters,” he said.
UNC said no decisions were made at the meeting, and it was not clear what legal options the university might have concerning Walker. Athletic director Bubba Cunningham and UNC coach Mack Brown attended the emergency trustees meeting but referred all questions to Guskiewicz.
Walker has been ruled ineligible for the 2023 football season by the NCAA, a decision last week that badly disappointed the Charlotte native and had Brown blasting the NCAA and making scathing remarks last week.
UNC believed it had a strong case for Walker. While a two-time transfer — from N.C. Central to Kent State to UNC — Walker played football for just Kent State after NCCU canceled its 2020 season because of the COVID pandemic.
But the NCAA is taking a stricter stance on granting waivers for second-time transfers who are undergraduates — a stance taken after Walker enrolled at UNC on Jan. 9. Walker, who came to UNC in part to be closer to an ailing grandmother in Charlotte, was denied immediate eligibility.
“I’m proud of our board of trustees that they’re standing up to try to figure out what’s best,” Brown said at a press conference before the meeting. “so we can see all of our options, get a singular voice and then move forward.
“We’ve got too many people saying, ‘Should he play, should he do this, should we do this, should this happen?’ We all need to get in the same room and figure out … what’s best for the young man, because we’ve said in our program we want him treated like I’d want my son to be treated. That’s what the board of trustees is looking at.”
The No. 20 Tar Heels have opened the season 2-0, with wins over South Carolina and Appalachian State. Walker, a preseason All-ACC selection, watched both games from the sideline — the first in Charlotte with a lot of family members at the game.
Brown said Walker was “really, really distraught” on Thursday when he and assistant head coach Lonnie Galloway informed Walker of the NCAA decision. Walker had appeared virtually before the Committee for Legislative Relief earlier in the day to explain why he believed he should be eligible this season.
Brown said he was not sure if Walker would stay in school. He returned home to Charlotte for a few days but agreed to return for the Tar Heels’ home opener Saturday against App State.
Walker was an honorary captain for the game and the Heels wore “No. 9” decals on their helmets as another show of support.
“We did talk him into coming back and felt like he needed to be picked up,” Brown said. “That’s why we asked him to walk out, so people could say ‘Sorry’ and ‘We’re for you,’ because this is a young man who totally had his life changed.
“We’re talking about NIL money opportunities. We’re talking about the NFL draft. The Senior Bowl took him off their list because he’s not going to play (in 2023).”
Brown said he would discuss with Walker about what the next steps should be.
“I’ll talk to him about what do you want to do?” Brown said. “Do you want to practice, do you want to work out for pro scouts and prepare to go to the NFL this year? Do you want to plan on coming back? Because he would graduate in December of next year.
“All these options are things he needs to look at and decide. He did tell me he wants to stay in school and get his degree, That’s something that’s a real positive.”

Players mentioned in this article

Mack Brown

A.J. Brown

A.J. Walker

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