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Reinstatement Involving Testing Positive for an NCAA Banned Substance NCAA Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1 and 18.4.1.5.2

Explanation of the application of the rule following a positive drug-test.

This information serves to assist NCAA member institutions in understanding the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1 (Duration of Ineligibility – Banned Drug Classes Other Than “Street Drugs”) and 18.4.1.5.2 (Duration of Ineligibility – “Street Drugs”) and the current NCAA Division I, II and III Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement policies and procedures if reinstatement of a student-athlete’s eligibility is later requested.  A student-athlete must be declared immediately ineligible if he or she tests positive in conjunction with the NCAA year-round drug-testing pro­gram or championship drug-testing program.

A student-athlete who tests positive for a substance in a banned drug class other than “street drugs” is charged with the loss of one season of competition in all sports in addition to the use of a season, pursuant to Division I Bylaw 12.8.3.1 or Division II/III Bylaw 14.2.4.1, if he or she has participated in intercollegiate competition during the same year.  In addition, the student-athlete remains ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition during the time period ending one calendar year (365 days) after the collection of the student-athlete’s positive drug-test specimen and until the student-athlete tests negative (in accordance with the testing methods authorized by the Board of Governors) and the student-athlete’s eligibility is restored by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement.  Requests for reinstatement of eligibility for a student-athlete who tests positive for a substance in a banned drug class other than “street drugs” will not be considered until the student-athlete has remained in­eligible for a minimum of one calendar year (365 days) after the student-athlete has tested positive and after the student-athlete has been withheld from the equivalent of an NCAA season, the student-athlete retests negative by the NCAA, and the institution submits a request for reinstatement of eligibility via Requests and Self-Reports Online (RSRO). [Reference: NCAA Division I/II/III Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1]

Please note that the application of Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1 (Duration of Ineligibility – Banned Drug Classes Other Than “Street Drugs”) causes the involved student-athlete to lose at least the equivalent of one season of competition, and if the student-athlete competes in that same season prior to testing positive, he or she will have utilized a season of competition according to the minimum amount of competition legislation.  For example, if a student-athlete competes during the same season he or she tests positive, that student-athlete will:

  • Have utilized a season of competition according to NCAA minimum amount of competition legislation; and
  • Be charged with the loss of one season of competition as result of a positive test; and
  • Be withheld for 365 days from the date of the test.

Consequently, it is possible for a student-athlete to be charged with the use of two seasons of competition during one academic year as follows:

2008-09 season: Student-athlete competes entire season.  (Use of Season No. 1) 

2009-10 season: Student-athlete competes in first four contests (Use of Season No. 2 - minimum amount of competition), tests positive for a banned substance and is declared ineligible for further participation in postseason and regular-season competition in accordance with the ineligibility provisions of Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1.  (Automatic charge of Season No. 3 - banned drug penalty)

2010-11 season: Student-athlete sits out 365 days. Student-athlete competes in last four contests of the season.  (Use of Season No. 4 - minimum amount of competition)

Those student-athletes who test positive and do not use a season of competition pursuant to NCAA legislation will be charged with the loss of one season of competition in all sports.  [Reference:  December 2, 2010, staff interpretation]

A student-athlete who, as a result of a drug test administered by the NCAA, tests positive for a substance in the banned drug class “street drugs” (in accordance with the testing methods authorized by the Board of Governors) is charged with the loss of competition during a minimum of 50 percent of a season in all sports. The student-athlete remains ineligible until the prescribed penalty is fulfilled, the student-athlete tests negative (in accordance with the testing methods authorized by the Board of Governors) and his or her eligibility is restored by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement.  Requests for reinstatement of eligibility for a student-athlete who tests positive for “street drugs” will not be considered until the student-athlete has remained ineligible for a minimum of 50 percent of a season in all sports, the student-athlete retests negative by the NCAA, and the institution submits a request for reinstatement of eligibility via RSRO.  [Reference: Division I/II/III Bylaw 18.4.1.5.2]

In addition, if a student-athlete tests positive for the use of any banned drug other than a “street drug” after having previously tested positive for any banned drug other than a “street drug,” he or she shall lose all remaining regular-season and postseason eligibility in all sports. If the student-athlete tests positive for the use of a “street drug” after having tested positive for use of a “street drug,” he or she shall be charged with the loss of a minimum of one additional season of competition in all sports and also shall remain ineligible for regular-season and postseason competition during the time period ending one calendar year (365 days) after the collection of the student-athlete’s positive drug-test specimen. If the student-athlete tests positive for the use of a “street drug” for the first time after having tested positive for the use of any banned drug other than a “street drug,” he or she shall be ineligible for competition for 50 percent of a season in all sports (the first 50 percent of regular-season contests or dates of competition in the season following the positive test).  The student-athlete shall remain ineligible until the prescribed penalty is fulfilled, the student-athlete tests negative (in accordance with the testing methods authorized by the Board of Governors) and his or her eligibility is restored by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement.  [References: Division I Bylaw 18.4.1.5.6; Division II Bylaws 18.4.1.5.1.1 and 18.4.1.5.2.1; Division III Bylaw 18.4.1.5.4]

Information pertinent to a student-athlete who transfers following a positive drug-test.

If the student-athlete transfers to another NCAA institution while ineligible under Bylaw 18.4.1.5.1 or Bylaw 18.4.1.5.2, the institution from which the student-athlete transferred must notify the new institution that the student-athlete is ineligible.

If the student-athlete immediately transfers to a non-NCAA institution while ineligible and competes in intercollegiate competition within the prescribed penalty period at a non-NCAA institution, the student-athlete will be ineligible for all NCAA regular season and postseason competition until the student-athlete does not compete in intercollegiate competition for the entirety of the prescribed penalty.  Additionally, the student-athlete must retest negative (in accordance with the testing methods authorized by the NCAA Executive Committee) and request that eligibility be reinstated by the Committee on Student-athlete Reinstatement.   

Process for reinstating a student-athlete following a positive drug-test.

The first step in the process is for an NCAA institution to schedule an exit test with the National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. (Drug Free Sport) by calling 816/474-8655.  For student-athletes who test positive for a substance in a banned drug class other than “street drugs,” the mandatory exit test may occur no sooner than the 11th month of the minimum one-year period of ineligibility. For student-athletes who test positive for a substance in the banned drug class “street drugs,” the mandatory exit test may occur no sooner than six weeks from the end of the minimum 50 percent of a season of eligibility. The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff will receive a copy of all exit test results from Drug Free Sport.  The student-athlete’s institution must then submit a student-athlete reinstatement request through the RSRO system using “Ineligibility for Use of Banned Drugs” as the sub-case type. Please note, the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement may impose additional conditions for reinstatement of eligibility or may conclude that reinstatement is in­appropriate.

Please note, for all drug tests administered on or after August 1, 2016, it is not required that the eligibility of a student-athlete be restored by the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee after he or she has fulfilled a drug-testing penalty and has tested negative in accordance with the testing methods authorized by th