- Walker claimed in speeches that he had graduated in the top 1% of his University of Georgia class.
- He said he actually had a GPA of 3.0 and dropped out in his younger years to play professional football.
- He removed the claim from his campaign site and said that “life and football got in the way” of graduating.
For several years in radio show appearances, motivational speeches and campaign events, Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker said he had graduated as a valedictorian in his class at the University of Georgia. But the retired football player never got his bachelor’s degree in criminal law, as he said in then deleted statements on his website.
After being confronted by reporters from Atlanta Journal Constitution on rumors that he had not completed his degree, Walker admitted that he had lied about graduating altogether.
“I was studying Criminal Justice at UGA when I left to play in the USFL my junior year,” Walker said in a statement released to AJC, with reference to the professional football league. “After playing with the New Jersey Generals, I returned to Athens to finish my degree, but life and football got in the way.”
Walker often repeated the false claim that he had completed his degree, as seen in his author biography, in SiriusXM performancesand in a motivational speech from 2017. When others, in subcommittee meetings and campaign meetings referred to his degree, he did not correct them.
While the claim that he had obtained his BS in Criminal Justice appeared on a campaign website, It reported CNNall references to a degree from the University of Georgia were removed from his official website sometime between December and January.
A profile from 1982 at Walker, published in the New York Timessaid the former springback actually kept a B average in his criminal justice course. It reported CNN that Walker himself told the Chicago Tribune in a 1985 interview that he had a 3.0 GPA.
Walker, backed by Donald Trump, is running against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in the Georgia 2022 special election round.
Walker’s campaign did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.