NCAA clears Florida Gators Chris Walker

By Alex Jordan,

Florida Gators freshman forward Chris Walker has been cleared by the NCAA to play. He’ll be eligible to make his collegiate debut next Tuesday against Missouri.

Walker has sat out while the NCAA investigated his amateur status. In a statement the NCAA said that Walker got preferential treatment from five people, including two agents. He will be required to donate the $270 he received from agents to charity, and will have to do 80 hours of community service, according to ESPN.

While he was a prospect, Walker received free cell phones and service, airfare, lodging, meals, and apparel, the NCAA found. People close to Walker also received free airfare and lodging for nine different trips.

Last summer Walker failed to qualify academically. He took online classes in the fall to become eligible. On Dec, 14 he joined the team and has been practicing since then. He will have missed a total of 14 games as a result of the NCAA investigation, according to the Associated Press.

"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, the NCAA’s vice president of academic and membership affairs, said. "Out of concern for student-athletes' well-being, 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 is a talented shot-blocker, rebounder, and finisher. Last year, he won the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American game. He will be a great asset for the Gators and could help them make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. The Gators are currently 17-2 and 6-0 in the SEC.

image: Wikimedia Commons

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