(AP) - The NCAA Board of Directors said Tuesday it was “troubled” by North Carolina’s public criticism of the decision to deny an eligibility waiver to Tar Heels transfer receiver Tez Walker, adding that some committee members have received threats of violence.
The statement comes less than a week after North Carolina said the NCAA had denied appeal efforts for immediate eligibility for Walker, an announcement that included pointed criticism from both Tar Heels coach Mack Brown and athletic director Bubba Cunningham.
In his statement, Brown said he had “lost all faith” in the NCAA’s ability to govern college football, then ended by saying: “Shame on you, NCAA. SHAME ON YOU!”
“Those comments directly contradict what we and our fellow Division I members and coaches called for vociferously – including UNC’s own football coach,” said the statement from Georgia President Jere Morehead, the DI board chairman, and Evansville president Christopher Pietruszkiewicz, the vice chairman. “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 rules or policy changes if they are dissatisfied.”
The NCAA said its national office in Indianapolis was coordinating with law enforcement to deal with possibly criminal threats against committee members. NCAA regulatory committees are comprised of administrators from the association’s more than 1,100 member schools.
NCAA rules allow players to transfer without sitting out a year once while they are undergraduates. Because Walker has transferred twice, he needed a waiver to play this season.
Brown has said Walker had struggled emotionally both amid the uncertainty of his status in recent weeks and now after the final denial. On Monday, Brown attended an emergency meeting of the school’s board of trustees and he said would discuss options for how the school could support Walker.
“I was so disappointed and surprised in the vote with a (NCAA) committee, that they voted down his ability to come back and play,” Brown said afterward. “I think it’s awful. I think it’s very poor. It’s not fair. There was a path for him to be eligible, without question.”