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UNC wide receiver Tez Walker's eligibility denied for entirety of 2023 season


UNC junior wide receiver Devontez ‘Tez’ Walker (9) looked at the scoreboard during the Duke’s Mayo Classic football game against South Carolina at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. The Tar Heels won 31-17.

Updated 5:00 p.m.: UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz released a statement on X, writing "We are deeply disappointed that the NCAA has ruled against Tez Walker's eligibility when we believe the facts of his situation should obviously permit him to play this season."

UNC football wide receiver Devontez ‘Tez’ Walker’s eligibility has been denied for the entirety of the 2023 season, according to a statement that UNC head coach Mack Brown released on Thursday afternoon. The statement was posted on North Carolina football’s X and Instagram accounts. This news follows a meeting Walker had on Thursday morning to review his case with an NCAA committee composed of representatives from member schools.

“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 wrote in his 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.”

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham also posted a statement on X following Brown’s.

“The NCAA had an opportunity to demonstrate that this is a new membership organization by using common sense, reason and compassion to determine the eligibility of Tez Walker,” Cunningham wrote. “On eight different occasions, the organization had the opportunity to demonstrate it can make sound and reasonable decisions in the best interest of student-athletes based on individual circumstances.”

Walker, a junior transfer from Kent State, was selected to the 2023 All-ACC Preseason Football Team and esteemed Biletnikoff Award Watch List in the lead-up to his first year at North Carolina. The Biletnikoff Award is given annually to the best wide receiver in college football.

Prior to his time at Kent State, Walker signed with East Tennessee State University but deferred his enrollment due to an ACL injury. The next year, he enrolled at N.C. Central, but the program's season was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19. Because of these circumstances, Walker is being subjected to the NCAA's current two-time transfer directive. 

Brown has previously insisted that because Walker has only seen the field at one school, he should be considered a one-time transfer.


@dthsports |

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Shelby Swanson

Shelby Swanson is the 2023-24 sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant sports editor and senior writer. Shelby is a junior pursuing a double major in media and journalism and Hispanic literatures and cultures.