Walker, a 61-year-old former NFL star, recently re-enrolled at the University of Georgia, according to a Thursday report from The Atlanta Constitution-Journal. The newspaper said Walker was attending summer classes and that a university official had recently spotted him visiting an academic adviser at the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences.
Walker was a star football player at the university during a brief period in the early 1980s, winning the prestigious Heisman Trophy during his junior year. The fact that he never earned a degree later became a campaign issue during his race for the Senate, in large part due to attempts by Walker and his campaign to claim that he had graduated.
A since-deleted reference on the Walker campaign website once claimed that the Republican candidate “graduated from [the University of Georgia] with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice,” despite the fact that he had left after his junior football season to play in the United States Football League.
Walker himself also falsely claimed to have graduated from the university on several occasions, sometimes while boasting that he graduated in the “top one percent” of his class.
Although the former Georgia Bulldogs football star’s current field of academic study is unclear, undergraduate programs at the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences include Criminal Justice.
Walker’s love of law enforcement and his aspirations for becoming a police officer are well documented. He was widely mocked after he flashed a fake badge and claimed to be an officer during a Senate debate last year.
The former Republican candidate has largely kept out of the spotlight since losing to incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock last year.
It is unclear whether Walker has any future political ambitions. However, he has fallen out of touch with former campaign aides that he previously referred to as “family,” The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported.
Some Republicans reportedly “worry” that Walker will attempt to run for office and lose again. GOP donors poured millions of dollars into his well-funded but unsuccessful Senate campaign. His defeat helped flip control of the Senate back to Democrats.
Despite Walker’s campaign being marked by a series of gaffes and controversies that went far beyond his academic history, the election was close enough to go to a runoff. Regardless, the Republican’s performance was still the worst by a Georgia GOP Senate candidate in decades.
Walker ran for the Senate at the urging of former President Donald Trump, who argued that “he would be unstoppable.” A number of Republicans blamed the former president after Walker lost and the GOP lost another seat in the Senate.
Newsweek has reached out to the University of Georgia via email for comment.
Published: 2023-06-16 04:52:13