Drug-Testing and the NCAA: A Q & A To Help Student-Athletes -- August 20, 2001
The NCAA education outreach staff has prepared this set of questions and answers to assist NCAA member institutions to educate their student-athletes about banned drugs, to review drug-testing procedures, and to help institutions to maintain compliance with the NCAA drug-testing program.
Q: How can an institution prepare its student-athletes for NCAA championship drug testing?
A: Although all student-athletes participating in the championship have signed an NCAA Drug-Testing Consent Form, a school can take other steps to prepare its student-athletes. All institutions have a copy of the NCAA drug-testing video. The 12-minute tape explains
the process of NCAA drug testing and should be shown to
student-athletes before the championship. Contact NCAA education outreach if you do not have a current (1998) copy of the video. The 2000-01 NCAA Drug-Testing Program booklet, which contains the NCAA drug-testing protocol and the list of banned-drug classes, and the banned-drug poster are excellent references. The protocol and list of banned-drug classes also are on the NCAA Web page at this address: www.ncaa.org/sports_sciences/drugtesting.
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Q: How can a student-athlete determine whether a medication or supplement is banned?
A: Student-athletes should ask their athletic trainer or team physician about any medication or supplement product they plan to take to determine if it is banned. All head athletic trainers have a copy of the 1999 (current edition) Athletic Drug Reference, which
lists NCAA banned drugs. If the athletic trainer or team physician are unsure whether a substance is banned, they should contact the Dietary Supplement Resource Exchange Center (REC) at The National Center for Drug-Free Sport (877/202-0769 or www.drugfreesport.com/rec).
Warning: Some "nutritional supplements" contain banned
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Q: When is drug testing conducted at the championship?
A: Drug testing can occur at any phase of an NCAA championship, from first rounds to finals. Testing is conducted immediately after the event (for example, a game or a race) at that site.
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Q: How long does testing take?
A: If a student-athlete immediately provides an adequate specimen, the process takes about 10 minutes. If the student-athlete is unable to provide a specimen or provides a diluted or alkaline specimen, he or she will stay in the drug-testing station until an adequate
specimen is provided.
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Q: What if an athlete is detained in the testing station for a long time?
A: Institutions should be aware of the possibility that NCAA drug testing may be conducted after their championship event and should make travel arrangements accordingly. The NCAA Executive Committee has determined that if a student-athlete participating in
a championship is detained in drug testing more than two hours, the team may depart. An institutional representative should stay with the student-athlete. The institution may request reimbursement from the NCAA for overnight expenses and transportation back to
the campus for the student-athlete and the institutional representative.
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Q: What drugs does the NCAA test for at NCAA championships?
A: The NCAA testing involves urinalysis for these banned-drug classes: stimulants (for example, cocaine, amphetamines and ephedrine), anabolic agents (anabolic steroids and clenbuterol), diuretics, street drugs (heroin and marijuana), peptide hormones and urine manipulators. Student-athletes also should be knowledgeable about the NCAA's position on blood doping and the restrictions on the use of anesthetics and beta 2 agonists.
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Q: What about nutritional supplements?
A: The NCAA has issued warnings about the use of nutritional supplements. Because of the lack of regulation in the production, distribution and sale of these products, the purity of these products is unknown; some may contain banned substances. Student-athletes should check with their team physician or athletic trainer before considering taking any of these products. Some supplements, such as ephedrine (ma huang), DHEA, androstenedione and
norandrostenedione, are banned by the NCAA but are sold in health-food stores.
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Q: When will institutions be informed whether their
student-athletes will be tested at the championship?
A: NCAA drug-testing information is reported at the site of each NCAA championship event in pre-championship meetings. If testing is being conducted, the NCAA drug-testing crew chief will be presentto answer questions.
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Q: In addition to preparing student-athletes for possible drug testing at the championship site, how else should a school prepare for NCAA drug testing?
A: Host institutions for NCAA championships will be informed a few days in advance that drug testing is being conducted. They should follow instructions in the NCAA drug-testing site coordinator manual. Also, in team championships, all schools must have an
accurate list of all student-athletes on the team who are present at the event. If testing is conducted, these lists will be requested by the drug-testing crew chief at the prechampionship meeting and will be used for the random-selection process.
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Q: Will the student-athletes or the schools be asked to submit information about medications at the championship site?
A: No. The medical crews do not ask for any information about medications student-athletes are taking.
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Q: What is the notification process for championships?
A: The NCAA no longer uses couriers to notify student-athletes of their selection for NCAA drug testing at team championships. (Couriers still will be used for individual/team championships such as outdoor track and field, and tennis.) In team championships, an NCAA drug-testing crew member will notify the student-athletes with the assistance of institutional representatives (for example, coaches or athletic trainers). An institutional representative must be
present during student-athlete arrival at the drug-testing station in order to identify the student-athletes. Please read Section Nos. 5.3 and 5.3.1 of the 2000-01 NCAA drug-testing protocol for more
information. For NCAA individual/team championships, official couriers will notify selected athletes.
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Q: What is the policy on late-night testing?
A: At NCAA team championship events, when competition begins at 9 p.m. or later local time, an institution may defer testing until the next morning. Please read Section Nos. 5.3.2 and 220.127.116.11 for more information about this process.
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Q: Will the NCAA test for specimen concentration at the site of drug testing?
A: Yes. NCAA drug-testing crews will be using special hand-held instruments to measure urinary specific gravity. The instruments are refractometers, and their use improves the accuracy of the specific-gravity measurement. If the urine has a specific gravity below 1.005, when measured with a refractometer, the student-athlete must remain in the station until an adequate
specimen is provided. The crew also tests for specimen pH.
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Q: Are there any changes to championships drug testing for the 2000-01 year?
A: There are no changes from last year, but the changes made last year are still important to point out. Drug-testing crews from The National Center for Drug-Free Sport will manage specimen collection at the site of NCAA championships. The crews will continue to follow NCAA drug-testing protocol and procedures. The
crews will be using new collection kits designed to streamline the specimen collection process to reduce the time student-athletes spend in NCAA drug testing.
At team/individual championship event, student-athletes selected for testing may be tested immediately after an event, may be asked to defer testing until completion of his or her final event of that day or may be asked to defer testing until the completion of his or her final event of the championship. The Individual Championship Student-Athlete Notification Form will indicate when the
student-athlete will be tested. At NCAA swimming and diving championships, student-athletes will be tested after each session and will not be able to defer testing until the end of the day or until the end of the championship. At NCAA outdoor track and field
championships, student-athletes will be tested each day and will not be able to defer testing until the end of the championship. It is possible that an athlete could be tested each day of the championship.
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Q: What if we have additional questions about NCAA drug testing?
A: The drug-testing program is administered by The National Center for Drug-Free Sport under the direction of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and the NCAA Executive Committee. For further information, contact staff at 816/474-8655 or www.drugfreesport.com.
Drug-testing information also is available at