Part of the NCAA’s core mission is to provide student-athletes with a competitive environment that is safe and ensures fair play. While each school is responsible for the welfare of its student-athletes, the NCAA provides leadership by establishing safety guidelines, playing rules, equipment standards, drug testing procedures and research into the cause of injuries to assist decision making.
The Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports serves to provide expertise and leadership to the NCAA in order to provide a healthy and safe environment for student-athletes through research, education, collaboration and policy development. The committee is made up of 20 members who serve four-year terms, each of which comes from medical, administrative, legal, coaching or student-athlete backgrounds. View the current roster here.
Questions about NCAA banned substances, medications and nutritional supplements?
Understanding the NCAA’s drug testing policies
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 all of 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.
The NCAA shares the responsibility of promoting a drug-free athletics environment with its member institutions to protect the health of student-athletes and preserve fair competition.
Drug testing in the NCAA began in 1986 when testing at championship events began, and it expanded to a year-round program in Divisions I and II in 1990. Today, 90 percent of Division I, 65 percent of Division II and 21 percent of Division III schools conduct their own drug-testing programs in addition to the NCAA’s.
Approximately $4.5 million is invested each year to collect and analyze approximately 13,500 samples through the NCAA’s national drug-testing program, and more than $1.5 million is provided each year to assist drug-education programs at its member colleges and universities.
NCAA drug-test samples are collected and processed by an independent certified collection agency. The samples are collected and analyzed under a strict, published protocol using laboratories certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which establishes Olympic anti-doping policies.