Gators freshman Chris Walker cleared to play by NCAA
Florida head coach Billy Donovan will get the boost to his frontcourt that he’s been waiting for this season. Gators freshman Chris Walker has been cleared to play, the NCAA announced Wednesday. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman had previously reported the news.
The ruling comes after the NCAA looked into whether Walker had accepted impermissible benefits. The NCAA’s statement says that Walker will have to pay back the money he received from agents:
“Walker received preferential treatment from five people, including two agents. In addition, Walker will be required to donate the $270 received from the agents to a charity of his choice and serve 80 hours of community service for the remaining benefits received.”
Florida had filed for Walker’s reinstatement on Jan. 21 and has been working with the NCAA to uncover the facts in the case. According to the NCAA report, Walker and those in his inner circle had accepted, among other things, free cell phones and service, airfare, lodging, meals and apparel.
The 6-foot-11 forward-center was ranked 12th in the Class of 2013 by ESPN.com.
The Gators, currently ranked No. 3 with a 17-2 record, will have Walker available for Tuesday’s game at home against Missouri.