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North Carolina wide receiver Tez Walker ineligible for 2023 season after NCAA denies appeal

Coach Mack Brown slammed the NCAA for this decision: 'The NCAA has failed Tez and his family and I've lost all faith in its ability to lead and govern our sport.'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Two days prior to the NCAA announcing it would crack down on allowing waivers for two-time transfers, Kent State transfer wide receiver Tez Walker began classes at North Carolina, intending to play football for Mack Brown's squad in the fall.

But, inexplicably, Walker's waiver was denied and on Thursday the school received word Walker's appeal was also denied by the NCAA, making him ineligible for the 2023 season.

Walker did begin his college career at NC Central, but he did not suit up because the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having only actually played at one school, transferring before the NCAA made this crackdown official, with support from Kent State officials, and documented mental health challenges, this seemed like a no-brainer waiver for the NCAA - and the decision not to grant it has many, including Locked on Tar Heels host Isaac Schade, up in arms.

"At some point common sense has to prevail right?" Schade wondered. "This is an absolute travesty...this is about a student-athlete losing out on current and potential future earnings because of a governing entity deciding to be petty." 

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Schade's sentiment is echoed by many within the Tar Heel family, none more than coach Brown himself who ripped into the NCAA on Thursday.

"We're absolutely crushed to learn that Tez Walker's eligibility has been denied for this season and he won't be able to play," Brown said. "I don't know that I've ever been more disappointed in a person, a group of people, or an institution than I am with the NCAA right now. It's clear that the NCAA is about process and it couldn't care less about the young people it's supposed to be supporting. Plain and simple, the NCAA has failed Tez and his family and I've lost all faith in its ability to lead and govern our sport."

The guidelines revealed by the NCAA in January stated that "multiple-time transfers who cannot demonstrate and adequately document a personal need for medical or safety reasons to depart the previous school are not eligible to compete immediately following their second undergraduate transfer."

Walker is from Charlotte and served as the primary caregiver for his grandmother when he was in high school. He has been receiving mental health counseling since enrolling at North Carolina, and according to UNC AD Bubba Cunningham both North Carolina and Kent State "have provided overwhelming evidence detailing his mental health needs" while also pointing out the waiver requirements were put in place after he already made the decision to transfer and enroll at UNC.

Brown's final statement condemns the NCAA's decision in light of their mission to care for student-athlete mental health and well-being, saying "How dare they ever speak about mental health and student-athlete welfare again. We've got complete rosters overhauled through the transfer portal, players playing in their 8th year of college, players playing at their fourth school, and the list goes on. Yet, Tez Walker, who has only played football at one school, isn't eligible. It makes no sense and it never will.

Shame on you, NCAA. SHAME ON YOU!"

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