No timetable for Walker clearance

Florida coach Billy Donovan remains unsure when freshman forward Chris Walker will be cleared to play. Despite reports surfacing on Monday night that the former five-star would be cleared to play when No. 6 Florida hosts Tennessee on Saturday at 4 p.m., Donovan said on Tuesday afternoon that his status remains unchanged. The Gators continue to wait.

The sports anchor for the ABC affiliate in Orlando tweeted on Monday night that he was told Chris Walker would be "cleared after Bama," referring to Florida's game at Alabama on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The school quickly clarified that there was no change in Walker's status.

On Tuesday, Donovan cleared the air again that the Gators continue to wait for NCAA clearance before the highly regarded freshman can play in a college game.

"As it relates to Chris, just listen to us and our school," Billy Donovan said on Tuesday. "Certainly we're hopeful he gets back soon, but there's been no indication that there's any truth to that at all."

It's not the first early or inaccurate reports while the Gators wait for Walker to be cleared. He was also expected to join the team for its non-conference finale against Richmond, and it was easy to sense Donovan's frustration about the reports when he spoke to the media on Tuesday, adding that he was done talking about Walker until he's cleared.

"Whenever he gets cleared, and certainly we all hope it's soon, I'm not going to throw a guy in a game and have him pop up and you guys not be aware of it," Donovan said in his press conference. "The minute he gets eligible, cleared and he's able to play, I'll let you know. Anything else that's out there about that is not true."

In recent weeks, there have been reports that the NCAA not clearing Walker has more to do with impermissible benefits than his academics. Donovan said on Tuesday that he isn't privy to all the details surrounding the situation and that the university is in communication with the NCAA to get Walker cleared.

"The hardest part for me is I don't know all the details because it doesn't involve our institution," Donovan said. "I'm just focusing on our team, the guys that are here right now and letting our administration handle it. The only thing I've been trying to do with Chris is each and every day trying to help him get better as a player, provide the resources he needs academically, try to work with him on the court to get better.

"In terms of all the details and hangs up, I don't know all those details because when there's something going on like this, there's ethical conduct forms that are signed. That stuff has to be kept confidential, be kept between Chris and the NCAA, kept between our administration and the NCAA. I'm not involved in any of those conversations."

As the Florida players continue to wait for their teammate to join them on the court, they understand what he will bring to the team. They see it every day in practice. Sophomore guard DeVon Walker said last week that he buys into the hype of the freshman.

"Freak of nature," DeVon Walker said. "He's athletic and he's willing to learn. He's getting better every day. Very talented. I love to play with him."

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