This comes after the NCAA appeals committee listened to Walker’s stance during a hearing on Thursday.
UNC football head coach Mack Brown released a statement on the decision.
“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 in the statement. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been more disappointed in a person, a group of people, or an institution that I am with the NCAA right now.”
Technically a two-time transfer, Walker began his career at North Carolina Central, but never suited up for the Eagles after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He then transferred to Kent State, where he played two seasons for the Golden Flashes. Walker then entered the transfer portal and enrolled at UNC in January 2023.
The NCAA ruled Walker ineligible back at the beginning of August, and his appeal process forced him to sit out the Tar Heels’ season-opening victory against South Carolina in Charlotte, which is his hometown. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper even sent a letter to NCAA President Charlie Baker to argue on Walker’s behalf.
“The NCAA is now the Wild West so it’s disappointing that the boot comes down on a young man victimized by a bizarre interpretation of a late rule change,” Cooper said in a statement after Thursday’s announcement. “Instead of unfair attempts to assert its relevancy, the NCAA needs new priorities.”
“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,” Brown continued in his statement. “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.”
Prior to the start of the season, Walker had been named to the 2023 All-Atlantic Coast Conference preseason team and earned a spot on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, which honors the best receiver in college football.
Brown said Walker transferred to UNC to be closer to his grandmother, who lives in Charlotte and is dealing with health issues.
“Just imagine what it is like for Tez to be so excited to come home and have a chance to fulfill his childhood dream of playing for North Carolina in front of all of his family and friends, only to have it taken away despite doing nothing wrong,” Brown said. “I can’t begin to understand how this has happened.
“Shame on you, NCAA. SHAME ON YOU!”
Click here to read Brown’s full statement.