On Wednesday morning, North Carolina football head coach Mack Brown made a surprise appearance at a regularly scheduled UNC football media availability. He said he wasn't going to bring up UNC junior wide receiver Tez Walker but, naturally “figured” the media would ask him.
“The only thing that's important here is what's best for Tez Walker,” Brown said. “This is not about me, this is not about anything else other than his well-being.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors released a statement regarding the public remarks from UNC leadership in response to the board’s decision to deny Walker’s eligibility for the 2023-2024 season.
“The DI Board is troubled by the public remarks made last week by some of the University of North Carolina leadership,” Chair Jere Morehead and Vice Chair Christopher Pietruszkiewicz wrote in their statement. “Those comments directly contradict what we and our fellow Division I members and coaches called for vociferously – including UNC's own football coach.”
Morehead and Pietruszkiewicz wrote that the NCAA is aware of “violent” and “possibly criminal” threats directed at committee members involved in decision-making over transfer waivers. They added that the NCAA’s office is working with law enforcement in response to those threats.
After Walker’s appeal hearing last Thursday, Brown, Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham and Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz released individual statements on X to express their disappointment with the decision.
The NCAA changed its guidelines regarding transfer waivers in an attempt to cut down on the number of players who enter the transfer portal. The statement from the DI Board said the new guidelines for transfer waivers were supported unanimously by all 32 DI conferences.
At a press conference after a spring football practice in April, Brown voiced his support for changes to the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Two days after Walker began his spring classes at UNC, the NCAA changed the guidelines for two-time transfers so that a player could only transfer and be immediately eligible in the case of danger to an athlete’s well-being or because of exigent circumstances.
“As has been documented, Tez should be eligible for several reasons, not the least of which is the mental health issues he’s faced during his time in college,” Brown said in his statement on X last Thursday.