NC governor asks NCAA to allow UNC wide receiver Tez Walker to play this season

Tuesday, August 15, 2023
UNC Football Head Coach Mack Brown on Tez Walker situation
Coach Mack Brown doesn't hold back when calling for change from the NCAA with how it handles student athlete mental health situations.

North Carolina's governor is now asking the NCAA to grant an appeal seeking immediate eligibility for Tar Heels transfer receiver Devontez Walker.

In a statement Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper says he has sent a letter to the NCAA asking college sports' governing organization "to reconsider" the decision to deny Walker's waiver to play this year after transferring from Kent State.

"This is the first time I have taken such an action, but this is an unusual and compelling case amidst the backdrop of all the major changes happening in the NCAA," the letter states.

Coach Mack Brown said Devontez Walker had enrolled at UNC in January, days before the NCAA revised rules.

Cooper is an alumnus of UNC, both as an undergraduate and for law school.

Coach Mack Brown said Tuesday that Walker had enrolled at UNC in January, days before the NCAA revised rules to limit waivers for two-time transfers to a case-by-case basis.

Walker was set to play at East Tennessee State in 2019 before a knee injury led him to defer enrollment. He landed at North Carolina Central, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the fall 2020 season at the Championship Subdivision level and then the team opted out of a limited spring slate.

RELATED | ACC Kickoff: NC State, UNC come in with high expectations after bumpy seasons

Walker, a Charlotte native, has said he transferred closer to home for family reasons, notably an ailing grandmother who had played a large role in raising him and has been unable to travel out of state to see him play.

In a statement, the NCAA said the Division I Council's vote means "multiple-time" transfers must document "a personal need for medical or safety reasons" in departing their previous school to be cleared for immediate competition.

UNC plays South Carolina on Sept. 2 in Charlotte.