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.
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.
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.