Jan 29, 2015
‘Roids Roundup

By R.J. Anderson

Performance enhancing substances continue to gather more and more negative publicity at every level of athletics. With news of new steroid investigations and indictments virtually every week, states and academic institutions across the country are stepping forward to find solutions to what some view as an epidemic. As a result, in the coming months, many high school student-athletes, as well as student-athletes at NCAA Division III schools, may find themselves having to prove that they’re competing drug-free.
In New Jersey, athletes competing in end-of-the-season state championship events in 2006-07 are being randomly tested for performance enhancing substances. So far, every one of the 150 athletes tested has posted clean results. These results, in addition to some athletes’ concerns that their privacy is being violated, has some critics wondering if the program’s $100,000 price tag is money well spent.

Hot on the heels of New Jersey’s recent testing program, the Illinois High School Association approved regulations that call for steroid testing at all 2007-08 state final events. A state senator has also proposed a law that would make the penalty for testing positive a year-long ban from competition.

In Texas, lawmakers backed by NFL Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus are considering legislation that would test at least 6,600 of the state’s 733,000 high school athletes. However, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he hopes to test as many as 40,000 in the first year of the program, which could start as early as next fall. Dewhurst says studies have shown that as many as one million high school students nationwide have taken steroids, and as many as 40,000 in Texas have tried illegal performance enhancing substances.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would implement random testing of certain high school athletes for anabolic steroids. If passed, the one-year, $150,000 pilot program would target weightlifters, football players, and baseball players.

Steroid use is also being addressed at the NCAA Division III level. Starting next school year, up to 115 schools will participate in an NCAA pilot program that will subject some athletes to random drug testing while requiring each school to educate players on the effects of drug use. The University of Wisconsin-Stout, whose football program was recently rocked after police seized steroids from the homes of two of the team’s linebackers, will be one of the schools participating in the program. Expected to cost $1.2 million, the two-year program and its findings will help the NCAA decide whether Division III should have a year-round testing program similar to those in Divisions I and II.

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