Tez Walker and Mack Brown.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images (left), Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images (right)

UNC Coach Mack Brown Slams NCAA Over Ineligible Player: 'Shame On You'

Tez Walker was set to be North Carolina's top receiver this season. Instead, the NCAA is forcing him to sit out.

In a shocking development, the NCAA has ruled that North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Devontez "Tez" Walker is ineligible to play for the 2023 season.

The Tar Heels Football X account posted a graphic of head coach Mack Brown's comment on the situation, and he didn't hold back.

Here's the statement in its entirety: "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. 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. 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. 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. I can't begin to understand how this has happened. The decision makers at the NCAA and on the committee should be ashamed of themselves for doing this to a young man. As has been clearly documented, Tez should be eligible for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the mental health issues he's faced during his time in college. And with this decision, the NCAA has placed an unnecessary burden on him. He's had a rough go of it and this will surely only make it worse. 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. Moving forward, our Carolina family is strong and we need to wrap our arms around Tez, lift him up, and make sure we continue to do all we can to support him. He's continued to work, on the field and off, and remained an amazing member of our program throughout this ordeal. I know that will continue to happen because that's the kind of person he is. Despite this setback, Tez's future remains bright and we'll continue to do everything we can to help him fulfill all of his dreams. Shame on you, NCAA. SHAME ON YOU!"

Brown absolutely eviscerated the NCAA, and now "legal recourse" could be next for Walker.

Walker played for two seasons at Kent State and decided to transfer to UNC to be close to his ailing grandmother, who resides in Charlotte. It was his second transfer, but to this point, he only actually ever suited up for Kent State.

According to The News & Observer, Walker enrolled at UNC on Jan. 9. Two days later, the NCAA altered the transfer rule, making it more difficult for athletes to transfer more than once.

To transfer for a second time, the NCAA states that there needs to be physical injury, illness or mental health condition to qualify.

Walker was set to play for East Tennessee in 2019 but suffered a knee injury. He then enrolled at N.C. Central, but the season was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham also commented that the decision "undermines the fair treatment of student-athletes and further erodes the public's confidence in our national governing body."

"Seeing more than 50 student-athletes transfer to one school or watching a starting quarterback play for his fourth university in his sixth year doesn't make sense to many," Cunningham said in a statement. "Arbitrarily prohibiting a student-athlete from competition — when that student-athlete has only played two seasons of football in the last five years at one school and wants to play closer to home for legitimate family and mental health reasons — does not make sense."

The decision also conjured comment from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

This decision has also caused many fans to compare this situation to Rice quarterback JT Daniels, playing on the fifth team of his college career.

Walker put up 58 receptions for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns last season at Kent State and was set to be a favorite target of quarterback Drake Maye. Unless something changes rapidly, Walker will be on the sideline all year.

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