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NCAA Responds To UNC Over Criticism From Tez Walker Eligibility Ruling, Acknowledges Receiving Threats | TheSportsDay NCAA Responds To UNC Over Criticism From Tez Walker Eligibility Ruling, Acknowledges Receiving Threats | TheSportsDay

NCAA responds to UNC over criticism from Tez Walker eligibility ruling, acknowledges receiving threats

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The NCAA Division I board issued a statement on Tuesday in response to mounting criticism stemming from last week’s decision not to grant North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker immediate eligibility. That decision forced a stern response from multiple members of the North Carolina power structure, including coach Mack Brown and athletic director Bubba Cunningham. 

“The DI Board is troubled by the public remarks made last week by some of the University of North Carolina leadership,” said D-I board chair Jere Morehead and D-I board vice chair Christopher Pietruszkiewicz in a statement. “Those comments directly contradict what we and our fellow Division I members and coaches called for vociferously — including UNC’s own football coach. We are a membership organization, and rather than pursue a public relations campaign that can contribute to a charged environment for our peers who volunteer on committees, we encourage members to use established and agreed upon procedures to voice concerns and propose and adopt rule or policy changes if they are dissatisfied.” 

Walker, a former Kent State receiver who initially signed with NC Central before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out its 2020 season, was first ruled ineligible in June. North Carolina aggressively appealed the decision until last week when the board issued its final decision. Brown ripped the NCAA shortly after the decision was announced.

“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,” Brown said in a statement. “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. They’ve messed so many things up as it relates to college football, and now their failures have negatively impacted the life of one of our own.”

Brown’s statement concluded with a direct shot at the organization: “Shame on you, NCAA. SHAME ON YOU!”‘

The NCAA’s statement on Tuesday also included some very disturbing information regarding threats made to committee members in the wake of eligibility rulings. However, it did not identify any suspects or circumstances that led to the threats.

“The NCAA is aware of violent — and possibly criminal — threats recently directed at committee members involved in regulatory decisions,” the statement read. “The national office is coordinating with law enforcement and will continue to do whatever possible to support the volunteers who serve on these committees.”

The NCAA instituted new rules in 2021 that allow undergraduates to transfer once without losing a year of eligibility. It specified in its statement just how rare two-time transfers are. 

“There are 21,685 student-athletes who entered the transfer portal this year. The bulk of those transfer students are first-time transfers who enrolled at their first schools and are now immediately eligible to compete at their new schools – which was the intent of the transfer rule change,” the statement read. “Of those who entered the portal, 3% would be multiple time transfers who would require a waiver to compete immediately for this academic year if enrolled at a new school. 

Though Walker won’t be able to play this season, he is still serving a role as a member of the Tar Heels. He was named an honorary captain for last weekend’s game against Appalachian State.

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