Since the beginning of the epidemic, the NCAA has not tested for drugs during championships. INDIANAPOLIS— According to The Associated Press, the NCAA did not test athletes for performance-enhancing substances during March Madness or other previous collegiate championships.
In 1999, the NCAA announced that it would begin testing athletes for drugs during championship events. The first season included tests during the football season's opening game and the men's basketball tournament. National anabolic steroids distributors will be required to submit blood samples from all customers to determine whether they are violating any antidoping laws. Customers who provide five or more boxes of supplements will have their names published on a public list. Those who receive such a listing will be notified by mail that they are being investigated by federal authorities. They will then have the opportunity to come forward and explain their actions.
The only other sports in which drug testing was conducted during championship seasons were baseball (1999) and softball (2000). These tests were done in honor of the NFL and NBA, which had previously banned anabolic steroids and human growth hormones, respectively.
There was no drug testing during March Madness or other previous championships because college athletes are protected by law from steroid abuse. Universities are allowed to punish their own players as long as they follow certain guidelines.
Throughout the year, the NCAA tests for steroids, peptide hormones, and masking agents, as well as stimulants and recreational drugs during championships. Member schools may also test for these drugs as part of their sports departments' drug-abuse prevention programs. If an athlete is tested positive for a banned substance, he or she will receive a suspension from competition.
The most common drugs found in baseball players' samples are steroids, peptide hormones, and masking agents. In fact, more than 95% of all samples submitted to our laboratory for steroid testing over the last five years have been positive. Even though many of these players were not using themselves, they were often being used by their coaches or managers to help them get bigger, stronger, and faster.
Players also take drugs to enhance their performance on field games like basketball and football. In fact, studies show that football players are about one-third more likely than baseball players to be diagnosed with AIDS-related conditions such as PCP (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia). This may be because football involves more contact with other people's bodies—the athletes are hitting and tackling others while running and jumping around the field at high speeds—which increases the risk of infection.
Finally, students use drugs to get high. Steroids are popular drugs among college students because they allow users to feel less tired and more energetic.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association did not begin drug testing athletes until 1986, and even then, only athletes or teams that advanced to championship or bowl games were subjected to testing. Although athletes were not tested until 1986, the NCAA council established a drug education committee in 1970. The group was given the task of creating educational programs for students, parents, and coaches to help them understand the dangers of drugs abuse. These programs were first published in book form in 1975 as Drug-Free Sports: How Drugs Are Affecting Your Sport and What You Can Do About It.
Drug testing of athletes is now required by nearly all major sports organizations including the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. All these leagues have had drug tests performed on their players at some point during their careers.
In addition to requiring drug tests, many sports organizations have also implemented random drug testing. This means that any time you play in a game or practice with the team they may choose to test you without notice. If you are selected for such a test, you will be asked whether you have used any drugs recently. If you answer in the affirmative, you will be given an opportunity to explain your situation before a decision is made regarding what action, if any, will be taken against you.
There have been many challenges issued against drug testing in sports, but none has successfully blocked its enforcement.
The NCAA and its member institutions are jointly responsible for not just testing but also teaching student-athletes about the dangers of drug use. The NCAA conducts testing during its championships as well as on-campus testing throughout the year in Division I and II schools. Many universities also test athletes after major events such as football games or basketball tournaments.
Colleges may choose to test any student-athlete at any time. However, the majority of programs do so during the season to monitor drug use by players. Some schools also test athletes before they arrive on campus, while others only take samples from those who have already been cleared by anti-doping agencies like USA Gymnastics or USATF. No matter what method is used, if an athlete fails the test, he or she will be disqualified from competition.
In addition to banning drugs that are prohibited under NCAA regulations, many schools include vitamins and supplements on their list of banned substances. Examples include ephedra and caffeine. Some schools also ban cigarettes and alcohol products.
If a student-athlete is found to be using drugs, his or her eligibility can be revoked. However, many people believe that drug tests in college sports are more than just a tool used to keep players clean; they are also used as a means of weeding out those who might potentially abuse drugs in the future.