It took several tries, but it seems as though Virginia will finally be able to use Ronnie Walker Jr. and bring some much-needed depth to the running back room. The NCAA’s Committee on Legislative Relief declared that Walker, a third-year transfer from Indiana, is immediately eligible to play. Wahoos247 was first with the news. This has been a long and arduous process, especially considering that the NCAA had previously stated that all players would receive an extra year of eligibility because of the coronavirus impacted 2020 season.
The NCAA denied Walker’s first waiver application and denied the first appeal. That left just one remaining appeal that had to take place within a 30-day window, and the Cavaliers have been aggressive in trying to get an answer. “Our administration is asking what I’ve been told is every day,” Mendenhall told the media last week when asked for an update. “So it’s not for lack of inquiring. It seems like our urgency is more than maybe that of who we’re working with.”
This is huge news for Virginia and Walker will be ready to take the field this weekend against Wake Forest. “We are excited for Ronnie that his request for a waiver to play this season was approved and we look forward to having him compete starting this weekend,” Mendenhall said in Virginia’s official press release. Wayne Taulapapa and Shane Simpson are both averaging over four yards per carry, so adding another experienced back to work with Virginia’s strong offensive line will only contribute to the arsenal.
Over his two seasons at Indiana, Walker rushed 59 times for 221 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.