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UNC Football: Tomari Fox ineligible for the 2022 season

The Tar Heel senior’s consumption of a banned substance sees him banned for his senior season.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Senior defensive lineman Tomari Fox received harsh news from the NCAA yesterday. Fox will be ineligible for the 2022 football season after his appeal of a season-long suspension for ingesting a banned substance was denied.

At issue with the NCAA is an over-the-counter pre-workout drink that contained a banned substance that Fox was unaware of. UNC head football coach Mack Brown said,

“I’m really concerned about the penalty. I don’t think the penalty is fair. Here’s a young guy that got some advice from somebody and drank something out of a bottle that I would have drunk and then he loses his entire year. So I don’t think the penalty fits the crime at all.”

Fox consumed the pre-workout drink in December 2021, and was held out of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against South Carolina while appealing the NCAA suspension. As the rules stand currently, Fox will not be allowed to play for UNC in 2022. He will not be allowed to travel with the team or be on the sidelines during home games.

Mack Brown said during his end of spring training camp press conference that Tomari Fox is staying at Carolina and will be integrated into the program as much as he’s allowed to. Fox was a full participant in spring practice and plans on attending summer workouts and preseason training camp.

As of right now, this is the best Tar Heel fans can expect for Fox, unless the NCAA reverses course. Fox released a statement expressing his frustration:

Fox will have two seasons of eligibility—should he choose to use them—beginning in 2023. He has one redshirt season and the COVID-19 season available to all football players that were in school during the first COVID season. He will be missed next season on the defensive line that is long on talent, but short on experience. Last season, Tomari Fox finished the season with 25 tackles (2.5 for loss), 6 quarterback hurries, and 1.5 sacks.