General Drug Testing Frequently Asked Questions
- What drugs are banned by the NCAA?
- The NCAA bans drugs by class, along with any substance chemically related to those classes. The banned drug classes are: anabolic agents; stimulants; alcohol and beta blockers (for rifle only); masking agents such as diuretics; street drugs; peptide hormones and analogues; 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 programs in Divisions I and II through its year-round testing program. In addition, the majority of institutions conduct their own institutional testing programs independent of NCAA drug testing. The NCAA spends more than $5 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 positive tests of both performance-enhancing and street drugs 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 a full season. A second positive test for street drugs results in another lost year of eligibility and year withheld from competition. A second positive result for PED usage will render the student-athlete permanently ineligible.
- What is the penalty for failing a school-issued drug test?
- Each NCAA member 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?
- Yes, student-athletes can appeal the result and, if ruled in their favor, either have the sanction reduced or eliminated.
NCAA Championship Drug Testing Frequently Asked Questions
- How should an institution prepare its student-athletes for the possibility of NCAA championship drug testing?
- Review the NCAA drug-testing video. The video is available on the NCAA’s web site at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting. The video explains the process of NCAA drug testing and should be shown to all student-athletes. Contact the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute if you do not have a copy of the video.
- 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, bowling, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, volleyball, water polo), immediately after the game, an NCAA drug-testing crewmember 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 drug-testing crewmember 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?
- The student-athlete cannot be released from drug testing until an adequate specimen is provided.
- 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 (NCAA Drug-Testing Protocol 5.4.5).
- If an institution decides to defer drug testing until the next morning, the test must start before 10am 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.
Year-Round Drug-Testing Frequently Asked Questions
- How should an institution prepare its student-athletes for NCAA drug testing?
- How and when are institutions notified of drug testing?
- Drug Free Sport will notify the director of athletes, compliance director and site coordinator via email of their selection for drug testing no earlier than two days before test day. 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?
- Your institution’s site coordinator or designee will provide Drug Free Sport with a squad/eligibility list for the sport(s) selected for drug testing.
- Drug Free Sport 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 member on the drug-testing crew 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 crew chief 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 other masking agents
- Peptide Hormones and Analogues
- 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 street drugs and stimulants.
- When does our institution get results?
- Drug Free Sport receives results from the laboratory approximately 10-15 business days from the test date.
- Drug Free Sport will send negative results via email link to the director of athletics, director of compliance and site coordinator.
- If an athlete is positive, Drug Free Sport will call the director of athletics or designee.
- What happens if a student-athlete tests positive?
- Drug Free Sport will provide your institution’s director of athletics or designee the name of the student-athlete who tested positive and the substance found in his/her 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 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 will assist with the medical exception process.
7. What drugs does the NCAA ban?
The NCAA banned drug classes are:
§ Anabolic Agents
§ Alcohol and Beta Blockers (banned for rifle only)
§ Diuretics and other masking agents
§ Street Drugs
§ Peptide Hormones and Analogues
§ 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 street drugs and stimulants.
8. 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.
9. 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.
§ The Resource Exchange Center (REC) is available to answer questions regarding NCAA banned substances/dietary supplements at www.drugfreesport.com/rec password ncaa1, ncaa2 or ncaa3.
10. 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.
11. Does a student-athlete have to disclose the use of medications to the drug-testing crew?
§ No. The drug-testing crews do not ask or accept any information about medications student- athletes are taking.
§ The team physician/athletic trainer 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.
12. 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.
13. What else should an institution do to prepare its student-athletes for drug testing at an
§ 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 at 816.474.8655 with any questions.
NCAA Year-Round Drug Testing