by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
One of college basketball’s longest sagas has finally come to an end.
Chris Walker, the ultra-talented Florida big man who was suspended by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits, has been reinstated after missing all of the 2013-14 up to this point.
The sixth best recruit and the No. 1 center in the class of 2013, Walker will be eligible to suit up beginning on February 4, when the Gators host Missouri in Gainesville.
From the NCAA’s official release:
According to the facts of the case, which were agreed upon by the university and NCAA staff, when Walker was a prospect, he accepted 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 basketball team competitions.
“The NCAA membership has expressed continued concern about how third-party influence, improper agent involvement and the role of nonscholastic basketball impact student-athletes and prospects,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs. “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 will need to donate the sum of the money he reportedly received from agents ($270) and perform 80 hours of community service.