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UNC’s Fox loses appeal, out for 2022 due to banned substance

Wake Forest v North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 06: Tomari Fox #56 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a win against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 58-55. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina won’t have defensive end Tomari Fox this season after he lost an NCAA appeal of his punishment for consuming a banned substance.

Coach Mack Brown announced Tuesday that Fox is ineligible. The player drank a non-approved over-the-counter pre-workout beverage last year in what Brown described as an inadvertent mistake.

“He walked immediately to his locker and pulled what he was drinking out and said, `Coach, I bought this over at the grocery store,”’ Brown said. “And I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. ... I think it’s unfair for him.

“Obviously he drank something he shouldn’t have, but he wasn’t trying to beat the system or he sure wouldn’t have had it in his locker.”

Fox started all 12 games in 2020 and played in 12 games last season, starting two. He has had 5.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

Fox, who was held out of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl as a precaution after the school learned of the violation, is allowed to practice and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.