Virginia may have to wait 30 days for a decision on RB Ronnie Walker, Jr.

By Jerry Ratcliffe

(Photo: UVA Athletics)

Ronnie Walker Jr. may not hear back on his appeal to play this season for another month, according to UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Walker, the transfer running back from Indiana, applied to become immediately eligible to play for the Cavaliers this season and that request was strangely denied by the NCAA. UVA appealed that decision, but an answer may not come for quite some time for the former Hopewell High School star.

“Just to educate everyone on the process, you send the waiver and then based on that outcome, you have a chance to appeal and the appeal can be approved or denied,” Mendenhall said Thursday. “Then there’s 30 days after that, that you still keep working. So we’re still in the process and we will be for 30 days, so I won’t be able to give a final answer until the end of that. We’re going to work hard all the way to the very end and exhaust every chance in that process.”

Walker has two years of eligibility remaining, while he and his family and the entire Virginia athletic department must be puzzled about the NCAA denying his initial request to play for the Cavaliers this season.

“I’m not sure how the waivers are even considered and not sure why it was denied, don’t agree with it,” Mendenhall said.

Without Walker, the Cavaliers aren’t very deep in the backfield. UVA’s starting tailback from last season returns in Wayne Taulapapa. His expected backup this season, sophomore Mike Hollins, has opted out of the season due to Covid-19 concerns and remained home in Baton Rouge, La.

Transfer Shane Simpson, a consensus FCS All-American from Towson, has now taken on the backup role for the Cavaliers.

Without Hollins and Walker, what if Taulapapa or Simpson can’t answer the bell? That leaves UVA with sophomore Perris Jones and freshman Chris Barfield. Neither have college experience at running back.

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