For years, Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker claimed he'd graduated in the top 1% of his class at University of Georgia — but he never graduated at all
- Walker claimed in speeches that he'd graduated in the top 1% of his University of Georgia class.
- He said he actually maintained a 3.0 GPA and dropped out in his junior year to play pro football.
For years in radio show appearances, motivational speeches, and campaign events, Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker said he'd graduated as valedictorian of his class at the University of Georgia. But the retired football player never received his Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, as he said in since-deleted claims on his website.
After being confronted by reporters from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution about rumors that he hadn't completed his degree, Walker acknowledged he'd lied about graduating entirely.
"I was majoring in Criminal Justice at UGA when I left to play in the USFL my junior year," Walker said in a statement released to AJC, referring to the professional football league. "After playing with the New Jersey Generals, I returned to Athens to complete my degree, but life and football got in the way."
Walker frequently repeated the false claim that he'd completed his degree, seen in his author biography, in SiriusXM appearances, and in a motivational speech from 2017. When others, in subcommittee meetings and campaign rallies referenced his degree, he did not correct them.
While the claim he'd received his B.S. in Criminal Justice appeared on a campaign website, CNN reported, any reference to a degree from the University of Georgia was removed from his official website sometime between December and January.
A 1982 profile on Walker, published in The New York Times, said the former running back actually held a B average in his criminal justice coursework. CNN reported that Walker himself told The Chicago Tribune in a 1985 interview he held a 3.0 GPA.
Walker, who is endorsed by Donald Trump, is running against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in the Georgia 2022 special election runoff.
Walker's campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.