Doping and Substance Abuse

2018 NCAA Summit on Pain Management in College Athletes

The NCAA Sport Science Institute hosted the 2018 NCAA Summit on Pain Management in College Athletes in Indianapolis July 10-11, 2018. The purpose of the summit was: (1) to review consensus-and evidence-based strategies on pain management in elite and college athletes; (2) to present original data on pain management trends in college athletes; (3) to present Department of Defense perspectives and strategies on pain management in the military; and (4) to develop consensus-based foundational statements that will serve as a springboard for a peer-reviewed publication and educational tools. The event was attended by pain researchers and experts, as well as Divisions I, II and III administrators, sports medicine staff and student-athletes. The meeting was co-chaired by Stan Herring, a University of Washington professor, and Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer.

Proceedings:

Buyer Beware! Dietary Supplements, Student-athlete Eligibility and Health

A growing number of student-athletes lose eligibility and are suspended from their sport because they tested positive for an NCAA banned drug after consuming a dietary supplement that contained the banned drug. Many student-athletes (and some staff) erroneously believe that if a supplement product is legal, or obtained from a “health food store” or other retailer, that the product must be okay to consume. Research tells us otherwise: Olympic testing and other quality control testing of over-the-counter supplement products identified that between 15-25 percent of products contained a banned...

What Student-Athletes Need to Know About Marijuana

The NCAA Sport Science Institute has developed a scripted PowerPoint presentation template to help member schools educate student-athletes about the facts and issues surrounding marijuana use.

While the great majority of student-athletes do not use marijuana, it is more potent today, and available in more ways, than ever before. By using this resource, schools can help student-athletes know the latest facts about marijuana and make healthy choices that support their academic and athletic goals.

To download a scripted PowerPoint presentation, click here.

The Athlete’s Kitchen: Alcohol & Athletes

By Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., CSSD

Athletes are competitive. Unfortunately, too many competitive athletes are also competitive drinkers, not to be outdone by their teammates. Ask any coach or college athletics director, and you’ll hear concern about alcohol and athletes—a dangerous duo, especially among team sports. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with injuries, poor grades in school, arguments, sexual violence, loss of memory, driving under the influence and trouble with the law—to say nothing of vomiting, hangovers and...

Doping and Substance Abuse Educational Resources

The NCAA Sport Science Institute is a leader in providing health and safety resources to college athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and campus partners. Together with leading medical organizations, behavioral health centers and content matter experts, the SSI provides educational resources for member schools to promote and support the health and well-being of student-athletes.

Located on this page are materials and resources related to the doping and substance abuse, organized by four main categories. 

2020-21 NCAA Banned Substances

Download: 2020-21 NCAA Banned Substances (pdf)

NCAA Division I Bylaw 12 and NCAA Divisions II and III Bylaw 14 require that schools provide drug education to all student-athletes. The athletics director or the athletics director's designee shall disseminate the list of banned drug classes to all student-athletes and educate them about products that might contain banned drugs. All student-athletes are to be notified that the list may change during the academic year, that updates may be found on the NCAA website (ncaa.org) and informed of the appropriate athletics department procedures for disseminating updates to the list. It is the student-athlete’s responsibility to check with the appropriate or designated athletics staff before using any substance.

The NCAA bans the following drug classes.

  1. Stimulants.
  2. Anabolic agents.
  3. Alcohol and beta blockers (banned for rifle only).
  4. Diuretics and masking agents.
  5. Narcotics.
  6. Cannabinoids.
  7. Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics.
  8. Hormone and metabolic modulators (anti-estrogens).
  9. Beta-2 agonists.

Note:  Any substance chemically/pharmacologically related to all classes listed above and with no current approval by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use (e.g., drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) is also banned. The institution and the student-athlete shall be held accountable for all drugs within the banned-drug class regardless of whether they have been specifically identified. Examples of substances under each class can be found at ncaa.org/drugtesting. There is no complete list of banned substances.

Substances and Methods Subject to Restrictions:

  • Blood and gene doping.
  • Local anesthetics (permitted under some conditions).
  • Manipulation of urine samples.
  • Beta-2 agonists (permitted only by inhalation with prescription).
  • Tampering of urine samples.

NCAA Nutritional/Dietary Supplements:

Before consuming any nutritional/dietary supplement product, review the product and its label with your athletics department staff. Many nutritional/dietary supplements are contaminated with banned substances not listed on the label.

  • Nutritional/Dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, are not well regulated and may cause a positive drug test.
  • Student-athletes have tested positive and lost their eligibility using nutritional/dietary supplements.
  • Many nutritional/dietary supplements are contaminated with banned substances not listed on the label.
  • Any product containing a nutritional/dietary supplement ingredient is taken at your own risk.

Athletics department staff should provide guidance to student-athletes about supplement use, including a directive to have any product checked by qualified staff members before consuming. The NCAA subscribes only to Drug Free Sport AXISTM for authoritative review of label ingredients in medications and nutritional/dietary supplements. Contact the Drug Free Sport AXIS at 877-202-0769 or dfsaxis.com (password ncaa1, ncaa2 or ncaa3).

Some Examples of NCAA Banned Substances in Each Drug Class

THERE IS NO COMPLETE LIST OF BANNED SUBSTANCES.
DO NOT RELY ON THIS LIST TO RULE OUT ANY LABEL INGREDIENT.

Drug Classes Some Examples of Substances in Each Class
Stimulants

Amphetamine (Adderall), Caffeine (Guarana), Cocaine, Dimethylbutylamine (DMBA; AMP), Dimethylhexylamine (DMHA; Octodrine), Ephedrine, Heptaminol, Hordenine, Methamphetamine, Methylhexanamine (DMAA; Forthane), Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Mephedrone (bath salts), Modafinil, Octopamine, Phenethylamines (PEAs), Phentermine Synephrine (bitter orange).

Exceptions: Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine are not banned.

Anabolic Agents

Androstenedione, Boldenone, Clenbuterol, DHCMT (Oral Turinabol), DHEA (7-Keto), Drostanolone, Epitrenbolone, Etiocholanolone, Methandienone, Methasterone, Nandrolone, Norandrostenedione, Oxandrolone, SARMS [Ligandrol (LGD-4033); Ostarine; RAD140; S-23], Stanozolol, Stenbolone, Testosterone, Trenbolone.

Alcohol and Beta Blockers (banned for rifle only)

Alcohol, Atenolol, Metoprolol, Nadolol, Pindolol, Propranolol, Timolol.

Diuretics and Masking Agents

Bumetanide, Chlorothiazide, Furosemide, Hydrochlorothiazide, Probenecid, Spironolactone (canrenone), Triameterene, Trichlormethiazide.

Exceptions: Finasteride is not banned.

Narcotics

Buprenorphine, Dextromoramide, Diamorphine (heroin), Fentanyl, and its derivatives, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Morphine, Nicomorphine, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Pentazocine, Pethidine.

Cannabinoids

Marijuana, Synthetic cannabinoids (Spice; K2; JWH-018; JWH-073), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Peptide Hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics

Growth hormone (hGH,) Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), Erythropoietin (EPO), IGF-1 (colostrum; deer antler velvet), Ibutamoren (MK-677).

Exceptions: Insulin, Synthroid and Forteo are not banned.

Hormone and Metabolic Modulators

Aromatase Inhibitors [Anastrozole (Arimidex); ATD (androstatrienedione); Formestane; Letrozole], Clomiphene (Clomid), Fulvestrant GW1516 (Cardarine; Endurobol), SERMS [Raloxifene (Evista); Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)].

Beta-2 Agonists Bambuterol, Formoterol, Higenamine, Norcoclaurine, Salbutamol, Salmeterol.

Any substance that is chemically related to one of the above classes, even if it is not listed as an example, is also banned.

It is your responsibility to check with the appropriate or designated athletics staff before using any substance. Many nutritional/dietary supplements are contaminated with banned substances not listed on the label.

Information about ingredients in medications and nutritional/dietary supplements can be obtained by contacting Drug Free Sport AXIS at 877-202-0769 or dfsaxis.com (password ncaa1, ncaa2 or ncaa3).

Frequently Asked Questions about Drug Testing

What drugs are banned by the NCAA?

The NCAA bans drugs by class, along with any substance chemically/pharmacologically related to those classes. The banned drug classes are: anabolic agents; stimulants; alcohol and beta blockers (for rifle only); masking agents such as diuretics; narcotics; cannabinoids; peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics; hormone and metabolic modulators (anti-estrogens); and beta-2 agonists.

Who is responsible for testing student-athletes?

The NCAA and its member schools share the responsibility of not only testing, but also educating student-athletes to prevent drug usage. The NCAA conducts testing at its championships, and year-round on campus in Division I and II programs. In addition, the majority of institutions conduct their own institutional testing programs independent of NCAA drug testing. The NCAA spends more than $6 million annually on drug testing and education in an effort to deter the use of banned and harmful substances.

What is the penalty for a positive drug test?

The penalty for a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) is strict and automatic: student-athletes lose one full year of eligibility for the first offense (25 percent of their total eligibility) and are withheld from competition for 365 days from the date of the test. A second positive test for a PED results in the loss of all remaining eligibility.

The penalty for a positive test for a substance in the cannabinoid class is withholding from competition for 50% of the season in all sports in which the student-athlete participates. A second positive test for a cannabinoid results in the loss of a year of eligibility and withholding from participation for 365 days from the test.

A student-athlete who is involved in a case of clearly observed tampering with an NCAA drug test, as documented per NCAA drug-testing protocol by a doping control crew member, shall be declared ineligible for further participation in postseason and regular-season competition during the time period ending two calendar years (i.e., 730 days) after the student-athlete was involved in tampering with a drug test.

If a student-athlete who is selected for NCAA drug testing does not show up for testing or refuses to provide a sample, he or she will be penalized as if there were a positive drug test result for a PED.

What is the penalty for failing a school-administered drug test?

Each NCAA member school is responsible for determining whether to establish an institutional drug-testing program, at which time the school would be responsible for determining applicable penalties. If a testing program is established, though, the school is obligated to enforce the penalties. Failure to do so can lead to NCAA sanctions.

Can student-athletes appeal a positive test?

The NCAA member institution may appeal on behalf of the student-athlete and the outcome of any such appeal is to uphold the penalty, reduce it or eliminate it.

Year-round drug-testing frequently asked questions

How should an institution prepare its student-athletes for NCAA drug testing?

Institutions should educate student-athletes about NCAA banned drugs and drug testing policies, and follow the NCAA published minimum guidelines for drug education, found in the NCAA Drug Testing Program Book at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting.

How and when are institutions notified of drug testing?

Drug Free Sport International will notify the director of athletes, compliance administrator and drug-testing site coordinator via email of their selection for drug testing not earlier than two days before the day of testing. In most cases, institutions will be notified one day before the test day. Some test events will include no-notice testing.

How are student-athletes notified of their selection for drug testing?

The institution will provide Drug Free Sport International with the official eligibility checklist, squad list or complete roster (if the first outside competition has not yet occurred) for the sport(s) selected for drug testing.

Drug Free Sport International will randomly select student-athletes for drug testing and provide the names of the selected student-athletes to the site coordinator or designee.

The site coordinator or designee will notify the selected student-athletes in-person or by direct phone communication of their selection for drug testing.

Selected student-athletes are required to sign the Student-Athlete Notification Form and will report to drug testing at the testing facility on the date and time designated by the site coordinator.

How are student-athletes tested and how long does it take?

Student-athletes are drug tested through urinalysis.

Student-athletes are observed by a doping control crew member of the same gender.

The length of the process depends on the student-athlete’s ability to provide an adequate specimen. If a student-athlete provides an adequate specimen immediately upon arriving at the testing facility, the entire process usually is completed in less than 20 minutes.

Can student-athletes beat a drug test by consuming large amounts of fluids?

No. NCAA drug-testing protocol requires each student-athlete’s urine sample be analyzed onsite prior to sending it to the lab.

If the specimen is too dilute, the student-athlete will be required to remain in the drug testing until an adequate specimen is collected. This could take several hours. A student-athlete who produces multiple diluted samples is subject to follow-up drug tests.

What if a student-athlete has trouble providing an adequate specimen? Can the student- athlete leave and come back later?

The student-athlete cannot be released from drug testing until an adequate specimen is provided, except to attend class or exercise. The DCO may direct a student-athlete whose sample is dilute to exercise in an attempt to improve his/her concentration levels. The site coordinator may be asked to assist in locating exercise facilities.

What does the NCAA test for during the year-round program?

  • Anabolic Agents
  • Diuretics and masking agents
  • Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics
  • Hormone and metabolic modulator (anti-estrogens)

Note: Student-athletes who have had a previous positive result, or had previous multiple dilutes, may be subject to follow-up tests and may be tested with an expanded panel that includes all banned-substance classes.

When does our institution get results?

The director of athletics, compliance administrator and drug-testing site coordinator are notified of negative NCAA drug-testing results availability via email.  Positive results are sent via email to the director of athletics and the positive results designee.

NCAA drug-testing results will be available approximately 15-20 business days after the drug test.

What happens if a student-athlete tests positive?

Drug Free Sport International will provide your institution’s director of athletics or designee the name of the student-athlete who tested positive and the substance found in their urine sample.

The institution/student-athlete has the option to be present at the lab for the opening of the B sample or a surrogate may be designated.

If the B sample is positive, Drug Free Sport International will notify the director of athletics or designee and the student-athlete will be declared ineligible.

If the student-athlete tested positive for a substance for which a medical exception is warranted, the institution may request a medical exception. Drug Free Sport International will assist with the medical exception process.

Championship frequently asked questions

How should an institution prepare its student-athletes for the possibility of NCAA championship drug testing?

Institutions should review the banned drug classes and NCAA drug testing policies with student-athletes as they enter into championship season, including information about cannabinoids and the risks associated with dietary supplement use.

Review the NCAA Drug-Testing Program booklet located at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting.

When is drug testing conducted at the championship?

Drug testing can occur at any phase of an NCAA championship (e.g., first round, second round, quarterfinals, semi-finals or finals).

Drug testing can occur more than once at any championship (e.g., first round and finals).

Participating institutions and student-athletes are not given any advance notice that drug testing is being conducted at the championship.

When will student-athletes be notified of their selection for drug testing?

At team championships (baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, field hockey, football, ice  hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, volleyball, water polo), immediately after the game, an NCAA doping control crew member will provide an institutional representative with a list of student-athletes who have been selected for drug testing.

At individual/team championships (cross country, fencing, golf, gymnastics, rifle, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, wrestling), official drug-testing couriers will notify student-athletes of their selection for drug testing.

Refer to NCAA Drug-Testing Protocol 4.0 and 5.0 more specific information.

How are student-athletes tested and how long does it take?

Student-athletes are drug tested through urinalysis.

Student-athletes will be observed by a doping control crew member of the same gender.

The length of the collection process depends on the student-athlete’s ability to provide an adequate specimen. If a student-athlete provides an adequate specimen immediately upon arriving at the drug-testing station, the entire process usually is completed in less than 20 minutes.

What if a student-athlete has trouble providing an adequate specimen? Can the student- athlete leave and come back later? What if the team has to leave and the student-athlete is still in drug testing?

In events other than individual championship events, the student-athlete cannot be released from drug testing until an adequate specimen is provided. During individual championship events, if the student-athlete has produced a partial urine sample and must leave the collection station for a reason approved by the doping control officer (DCO), the DCO may temporarily defer the student-athlete’s collection until they return.

If the student-athlete’s team must depart the championship prior to a student-athlete completing drug testing, an institutional representative must stay with the student-athlete.

If the student-athlete and/or institution incur additional expenses because of the delay (e.g., hotel, transportation back to campus), the institution may request reimbursement from the NCAA.

Some events begin late at night which means drug testing will start late as well. What is the NCAA policy on late-night drug testing?

The late-night testing policy pertains to team championship events only.

An institution may defer drug testing until the next morning if their contest begins at 10pm or later local time (NCAA Drug-Testing Protocol 5.4.4).

The decision to defer drug testing applies to the entire team and must be determined by the institution immediately after the game. All selected student-athletes can either test that night after the game or test the next morning.

If an institution decides to defer drug testing until the next morning, the test must start before noon local time and must take place at the testing facility from the day before.

An institutional representative must be present at the collection site the next morning to identify selected student-athletes.

What drugs does the NCAA ban?

The NCAA banned drug classes are:

  • Stimulants
  • Anabolic Agents
  • Alcohol and beta blockers (banned for rifle only)
  • Diuretics and masking agents
  • Cannabinoids
  • Narcotics
  • Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics
  • Hormone and metabolic modulators (anti-estrogens)
  • Beta-2 agonists

Note: Student-athletes who have had a previous positive result, or had previous multiple dilutes, may be subject to follow-up tests and may be tested with an expanded panel that includes all banned-substance classes. 

How can a student-athlete find out whether a medication or supplement is banned?

In advance of the championship, student-athletes should consult with their athletic trainer or team physician about any medication or dietary supplements they use.

What about dietary supplements?

Many nutritional/dietary supplements contain NCAA banned substances.  In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly regulate the supplement industry; therefore, purity and safety of nutritional/dietary supplements cannot be guaranteed. Impure supplements may lead to a positive NCAA drug test. The use of supplements is at the student-athlete’s own risk.

Drug Free Sport AXIS™ is available to answer questions regarding NCAA banned substances and dietary supplements at www.dfsaxis.com (password: ncaa1, ncaa2 or ncaa3).

Are over-the-counter dietary supplements approved by the NCAA?

The NCAA does not approve any dietary supplement. Furthermore, the use of any dietary supplement can lead to a positive NCAA drug test.

Does a student-athlete have to disclose the use of medications to the doping control crew?

No. The doping control crew does not ask or accept any information about medications student- athletes are taking.

The team primary athletics health care provider should be aware of all prescribed medications (and supplements) a student-athlete is taking. This information should be kept on file at the institution.

If a student-athlete tests positive because of a prescribed medication, the institution may request a medical exception for certain banned drug classes as outlined in the NCAA Drug-Testing Exceptions Procedures at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting.

Can student-athletes beat a drug test by consuming large amounts of fluids?

No. NCAA protocol requires each student-athlete urine sample be analyzed onsite prior to sending the sample to the lab.

If the specimen is too dilute, the student-athlete will be required to remain in drug testing until an adequate specimen is collected. This could take several hours. A student-athlete who produces multiple diluted samples is subject to follow-up drug tests.

What else should an institution do to prepare its student-athletes for drug testing at an NCAA championship?

Remind student-athletes they may be selected for drug testing.

Conduct an educational session on NCAA banned substances.

At team championships, participating institutions must provide a list of all student-athletes on the team who are present at the event. This must be submitted to the NCAA championship liaison at the pre-championship meeting.

At team championships, each institution must designate an administrator to assist with drug testing.

Contact Drug Free Sport International at 816.474.8655 with any questions.

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