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2 posts from January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

NCAA clears Walker

GAINESVILLE -- Chris 'Sky' Walker is finally free to soar.

No. 3 Florida's 6-foot-10 McDonald's All-American forward -- cleared Wednesday by the NCAA -- will make his collegiate debut Feb. 4 in primetime when UF hosts Missouri (9 p.m., ESPN).

“We’re glad there’s a resolution for everyone involved, especially Chris,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said in a news release.

“We appreciate everyone’s participation in this process and are ready to move forward.”

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman first reported Walker’s reinstatement, with the NCAA and university quickly confirming the sourced report.

According to a release by the NCAA, Walker received a 12-game suspension -- or 40 percent of the season -- for accepting impermissible benefits from five people, including two agents.

The report states Walker received “free cell phones and service, airfare, lodging, meals and apparel.”

Additionally, “individuals close to Walker received free airfare and lodging for nine different trips, including eight associated with Walker’s non-scholastic [AAU] basketball team competitions.”

The five-star forward is required to donate the $270 he received from agents to a charity of his choice and perform 80 hours of community service.

“I appreciate all the support from UF, Coach Donovan and my teammates,” Walker said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to helping the team any way I can.”

He later tweeted...

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 7.41.11 PM

The report states Walker was declared ineligible by the NCAA [at an unspecified date] and then Florida filed for Walker’s reinstatement Jan. 21. The two parties “worked to finalize the facts” until Wednesday’s decision.

“The NCAA membership has expressed continued concern about how third-party influence, improper agent involvement and the role of non-scholastic basketball impact student-athletes and prospects,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in the statement.

“Out of concern for student-athletes’ wellbeing, our members have created rules that limit the involvement of these individuals. The 12 games Mr. Walker was required to sit out reflect the significance of these violations.”

Walker, a freak finisher and shot-blocker as prep prospect, didn’t enroll at Florida until Dec. 14 after failing to qualify academically last summer. The Bonifay native, who led Holmes County to the 1A state finals, spent the fall getting his academics in order, eventually completing the necessary requirements to enroll for the spring semester. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

FOR REAL -- #FREESKYWALKER actually happening ... for real this time?

********** UPDATED **********

Florida confirms Goodman's report, saying Walker has been cleared and will debut against Mizzou. 

In a statement, coach Billy Donovan said, "We're glad there's a resolution for everyone involved, especially Chris. We appreciate everyone's participation in this process and are ready to move forward."

Walker, a five-star forward expected to bolster UF's frontcourt, added, "I appreciate all the support from UF, coach Donovan and my teammates. I'm looking forward to helping the team any way I can."

Meanwhile, the NCAA released a report on Walker's reinstatement, explaining the 12-game suspension.

According to the NCAA, Walker accepted $270 in benefits and is required to donate the same amount to a charity of his choice.

Walker must also serve 80 hours of community service for "the remaining benefits received."

More to come...

GAINESVILLE -- From the best source to date...

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 3.53.54 PM

 

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 4.08.14 PM

If true, the long nightmare for the 2013 McDonald's All-American would be over. 

According to Goodman, Walker will be (officially) eligible to play on Tuesday (Feb. 4) when No. 3 Florida hosts Missouri in a nationally televised showcase (9 p.m., ESPN). 

The university has yet to confirm Goodman's report or issue any sort of statement

Stay tuned. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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