Drug Testing

CSMAS recommends drug-testing penalty change

The committee proposed a change to the language of the legislated penalty for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

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.

Drug-Testing Appeals Process

If requested to do so, an institution is required to bring an appeal on behalf of a student-athlete who has a positive drug test or who violates an NCAA drug-testing protocol. The procedures for appeal are contained in Section 8.0 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol. The following information is provided to NCAA institutions that may be considering filing an appeal on behalf of a student-athlete.

  1. The NCAA does not restrict the grounds for an appeal, but an institution bringing an appeal must comply with the requirements set forth in Section 8.0 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol. Appeal considerations are outlined below:
    1. Procedural challenge: Either the institution or student-athlete may challenge any procedure relating to the collection or testing of the subject samples. If the institution or student-athlete proves it is more likely than not that any substantiated problem with the collection or testing procedures materially affects a sample's integrity, the drug-test appeal panel may find that no doping violation has occurred.
    2. Knowledge challenge: The student-athlete is responsible for all substances consumed. However:
      1. If the institution or the student-athlete demonstrates that the student-athlete was not aware they had been administered (defined as placed into the student-athlete’s system directly or through food or drink) a substance by another person that later is found to have contained a banned ingredient, then the drug-test appeal panel may determine that no violation has occurred. In this situation, the student-athlete must provide proof that they he or she both did not know and could not reasonably have known or suspected (even with the exercise of utmost caution) that he or she had been administered by a third party a substance that is later found to have contained a banned ingredient. or
      2. If the institution or the student-athlete demonstrates that the student-athlete asked specific and reasonable questions about a particular substance, medication or product of the appropriate athletics administrator and the athletics administrator erroneously assured the inquiring student-athlete that the substance does not list a banned ingredient (but it did), then the drug-test appeal panel may determine that no violation has occurred. In this case where the substance, medication or product reviewed and approved for use by the institution does list a banned substance, this may result in an institutional violation.
    3. Reduction of penalty based on mitigating factors:

      The following will not be considered mitigating factors in a drug-test appeal:

      1. The type or amount of banned substance detected through the drug test;
      2. Evidence of the student-athlete’s good character;
      3. The degree of remorse demonstrated by the student-athlete; family hardship or history of family dysfunction; or
      4. The degree to which the banned substance may or may not affect athletic performance.

      The drug-test appeal panel may reduce the current legislative sanction to an immediate suspension from competition in all sports and withholding from competition for the equivalent of the next 50% of each sport’s regular season schedule, when circumstances might indicate a reduction is warranted. For example:

      1. Where it is shown that the institution's drug-education program was inadequate and such shortcomings influenced the student-athlete’s judgment regarding the propriety of taking a specific product (a reduction of penalty normally will not be available in the case of admitted illicit drug use); or
      2. A student-athlete’s ability to discern he or she was using a banned substance was due to circumstances beyond the student-athlete’s control.
  2. The request for an appeal shall be submitted to Drug Free Sport International by the institution within two business days of the confirmation of the positive B result. Institutions must submit to Drug Free Sport International the required appeal documentation within 45 days of their request to appeal.
    1. A written summary outlining the grounds of the appeal; and
    2. A written summary describing the institution’s drug-education program; and
    3. If banned substances were detected, a list of supplements the student-athlete has taken within the last 365 days.
  3. At least three members of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports drug-test appeal subcommittee panel hear appeals. In the event a member of the panel is employed by a member institution belonging to the same athletics conference of the appealing institution, that committee member will not hear the appeal.
  4. Appeals are conducted by telephone conference arranged by Drug Free Sport International for the NCAA. NCAA staff, NCAA drug-testing consultants and NCAA legal counsel are normally present during the telephone conference, but do not participate in panel voting.
  5. The panel prefers not to know the identity of the institution requesting the appeal or the identities of any of the institutional representatives, the student-athlete or his/her representatives. Accordingly, during the telephone conference, parties should refer to themselves only by title and should not mention the institution's name.
  6. The institution and the student-athlete may include any party on the telephone conference they wish after reporting their names and telephone numbers to Drug Free Sport International. The institution is required to include the student-athlete and the director of athletics. The director of athletics may designate a senior staff member to participate in their absence.
  7. The chair of the drug-test appeal panel or designee will open the telephone conference appeal by inviting the institution and its representatives and/or the student-athlete and their representatives to provide orally any information they wish to have before thepanel. The panel prefers that the student-athlete present their information immediately after any introductory statements made by the director of athletics. Opportunity will be given to all parties to have questions asked and answered.
  8. Following the presentation by the institution and the question and answer period, the chair will ask the institution and any drug-testing consultants to leave the telephone conference and at that time the panel will deliberate and render a decision. The NCAA staff will contact the director of athletics to report the panel's decision as soon as possible. It is the institution's responsibility to inform the student-athlete.
  9. In the event of an analytical positive test, when the appeal is granted, the student-athlete must test negative on an NCAA-administered drug test prior to returning to competition. In the event the panel denies the appeal and imposes a sanction, the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 18.4.1.4.5 (DI and DII student-athletes) and 18.4.1.5.5 (DIII student-athletes) will apply.

If you have questions about the NCAA drug-testing appeals process, please contact ssi@ncaa.org.

Competitive safeguards committee takes new approach to drug testing changes

A push to replace testing for street drugs at NCAA championship events with a more robust approach has slowed, but has not been derailed entirely.

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 Drug Free Sport AXIS at 816-474-7321 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 816-474-7321 or dfsaxis.com (password ncaa1, ncaa2 or ncaa3).

Medical Exceptions Procedures

The NCAA list of banned drug classes (NCAA Bylaw 31.2.3) is composed of substances that are generally purported to be performance enhancing and/or potentially harmful to the health and safety of the student-athlete.

The NCAA recognizes that some banned substances are used for legitimate medical purposes. Accordingly, the NCAA allows exception to be made for those student-athletes with a documented medical history demonstrating the need for treatment with a banned medication. Exceptions may be granted for substances included in the following classes of banned drugs: anabolic agents*, stimulants, beta blockers, diuretics, anti-estrogens*, beta-2 agonists,peptide hormone* and narcotics* (see subpart 2 below). No medical exception review is available for substances in the class of cannabinoids.

  1. Alternative non-banned medications for the treatment of various conditions may exist and should be considered before an exception is pursued.
  2. In the event that the student-athlete and the physician (in coordination with sports-medicine staff at the student-athlete's institution) agree that no appropriate alternative medication to the use of the banned substance is available, the decision may be made to use a medication that falls under an NCAA class of banned drugs.

    Note: The use of an *anabolic agent, anti-estrogen or peptide hormone must be approved by the NCAA before the student-athlete is allowed to participate in competition while taking these medications. The institution, through its director of athletics, may request an exception for use of an anabolic agent, anti-estrogen or peptide hormone by submitting to the NCAA medical documentation from the prescribing physician supporting the diagnosis and treatment.
  3. The institution should maintain documentation that supports the use of medication in the student-athlete's medical record on campus. The documentation can be a letter or copies of medical notes from the prescribing physician that documents how the diagnosis was reached, and that the student-athlete has a medical history demonstrating the need for treatment with the banned medication. The letter should contain information as to the diagnosis (including appropriate verification of the diagnosis), medical history and dosage information.

    ADHD Medication: for a medical exception request for a positive test involving stimulant medication to treat ADHD, the NCAA requires the documentation be accompanied by the required form “NCAA Medical Exception Documentation Reporting Form to Support the Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Treatment with Banned Stimulant Medication,” located at www.ncaa.org/drugtesting
  4. Unless requesting a review for the medical use of an anabolic agent, anti-estrogen or peptide hormone, a student-athlete's medical records or physicians' letters should not be sent to the NCAA unless requested by the NCAA. Also, the use of any substance need not be reported to the drug- testing crew at the time of NCAA drug testing.
  5. In the event that a student-athlete is tested by the NCAA and tests positive for a substance for which the institution desires an exception, normal procedures for reporting positive test results will be followed (See Section 8.0 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol). The institution may request an exception at the time of notification of the positive drug test (“A” sample) by submitting documentation to Drug Free Sport International. If the institution fails to provide medical documentation to Drug Free Sport International before the "B" sample is reported as positive to the institution, the student-athlete will be withheld from competition until such time the documentation is received, reviewed and the medical exception granted. (contact mdorsey@drugfreesport.com)
  6. Requests for medical exceptions will be reviewed by the medical panel of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
  7. The NCAA will inform the director of athletics regarding the outcome of the exception request. In the event that the exception is not granted, the institution may appeal this action according to Section 8.0 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol.

If you have questions about medical exceptions procedures for the NCAA Drug Testing Program, please contact ssi@ncaa.org.

Competitive safeguards committee recommends drug testing changes

The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports recommended extensive changes to the NCAA’s drug-testing policies when it convened in mid-December in Indianapolis.

From the Trenches: The Good and Bad of Substance Use Trends

Experts at a recent NCAA meeting warned that while testing and education efforts have helped curb steroid use, administrators and coaches must remain vigilant about the ever-changing dietary supplement market, the seemingly never-changing culture of alcohol consumption, and an alarming increase in prescription drug use.

NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline convened a group of experts on April 23 to discuss the NCAA’s drug-testing and drug-education efforts and other best practices for college administrators to address student-athlete substance use on their campuses. Participants included representatives from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the United States Olympic Committee and the NFL. 

Also attending were Mark Bockelman, director of NCAA drug-testing at the National Center for Drug Free Sport, and David Wyrick, who created the myPlaybook program that has helped dozens of schools reduce the negative consequences of student-athlete alcohol use. Their view from the trenches revealed some positive – and negative – insights about the culture of substance use on campuses today.

Drug Free Sport administers the NCAA’s drug-testing program and helps hundreds of NCAA colleges and universities conduct their own testing on campus. Bockelman, who has overseen much of the testing, says it has been the primary factor in stabilizing – if not reducing – the rate of steroid use among student-athletes. The NCAA’s most recent substance use study in 2013 shows usage of “ergogenic” or performance-enhancing drugs has declined since 2005. Particularly with anabolic steroids and ephedrine, usage has gone down in all three divisions (and it was low to begin with).

But Bockelman remains concerned about an unregulated and nebulous dietary supplement trade in which hidden or unlabeled ingredients can lead to a positive drug test.

“My biggest concern remains with supplement use – especially the fact that student-athletes don’t see it as a risk to their eligibility,” he said. “It’s cultural – there’s a pill for everything now. Watch any football game and track how many commercials are telling you to take this or drink that for an effect or to solve an issue.”

Bockelman also noted that student-athletes use these supplements to help with recovery, which they don’t perceive as cheating.

“They rationalize it by saying it’s not a competitive advantage, that it’s just helping them get back to 100 percent. But it’s also doing something to their body that isn’t natural to help them in that process, which is cheating,” he said.

Fortunately, a Drug Free Sport service called the Resource Exchange Center reviews dietary and other supplements for NCAA-banned ingredients. Unfortunately, student-athletes often think they know better.

“There’s still an overwhelming notion of: ‘If I can buy this stuff at a grocery store or at GNC, or if a doctor can prescribe it, it must be safe,’ ” Wyrick said. “Everyone is aware that drinking and driving is dangerous – that doesn’t mean people won’t do it, but they’re deciding at least from a different context. We’re not there yet with supplement use – there hasn’t been a cultural shift to say that using these is dangerous.”


Q&A with David Wyrick

What are you seeing now that is different from several years ago?
“We talk about how student-athletes are prone to higher-risk use of alcohol, which comes with increased negative consequences. While we’re not seeing a lot of decrease in alcohol use, there has been a decrease in self-reported negative consequences over time. Another win is that more athletics departments are hiring clinical counselors to deal with mental and emotional health issues, many of which stem from drug and alcohol use. There are more support/treatment options for student-athletes who are identified.”

What are your biggest concerns?
“Supplement use. There hasn’t been a cultural shift to say these are dangerous. There has to be a public acceptance similar to smoking is bad for your health, drinking and driving is dangerous, cocaine is addictive, etc. It still drives me crazy that student-athletes I work with, even after being hammered with information about the REC, they still go to GNC and buy this stuff without checking it out.”

What do we know now about how to address or even mitigate substance use that we didn’t know 10-20 years ago?
“We’ve finally distinguished between education and information dissemination. We’re all about education – after all, our institutions are higher education institutions. But we know now that information dissemination by itself is not effective. We know more about ‘prevention science.’ We know that there has to be some type of behavioral intervention. In the past, intervention meant ‘treatment.’ But now intervention is more accepted as a way to change behavior.”

Wyrick, a former basketball student-athlete at Elon College who’s now the faculty athletics representative at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is especially interested in student-athlete alcohol use. He developed myPlaybook in the mid-2000s not necessarily to reduce use but certainly to reduce the negative consequences of it. The web-based program has gained traction among NCAA colleges and universities as an effective resource for the student-athlete population.

In all the years of reviewing results, Wyrick says two things stand out.

“One is their normative perceptions,” he said. “Student-athletes perceive that more high-risk alcohol use is occurring than actually does, which puts them at risk. But even more alarmingly, they perceive that type of behavior is not only accepted, but expected.”

Such expectations face college students in general, not just student-athletes. In fact, the 2013 substance use study shows that student-athletes aren’t consuming alcohol more than their non-athlete peers, but their motivations for doing so are different. The general student tends to drink more for social purposes, but the student-athlete – particularly males – may be looking to blow off steam, which can lead to higher-risk use.

“Female student-athletes report alcohol use as a coping mechanism, while males report it as enhancing the event at hand (like a party or game, not the event they’re playing in) or blowing off steam,” Wyrick said. “Motivation for the general student population is almost always social.”

Those motivations may lead to different expectations – and consequences.

“Student-athletes have both positive and negative expectations,” Wyrick said. “Negative expectations are protective, and their positive expectations put them at risk. When we try to intervene to change those expectations, student-athletes often put a positive evaluation on what we would consider a negative, such as getting so drunk that you black out – we would say that’s a negative outcome, but they might say that was what they were after that particular night.

“So their evaluation of these expectations appears to be different than those of the general student population.”

Both Bockelman and Wyrick say the best news in all of this is that the educational effort is happening at all. More programs and methodologies are coming to light, and in time should help change the substance-use culture.

“The NCAA is well positioned to advise how to do this best in a higher-education environment,” Wyrick said. “No one else is as active in this area. But the challenge is how do you take these materials and resources to scale in order to accommodate a large and diverse membership with different goals and philosophies? It has to be gradual, sustainable and collaborative. You can’t just come in a say drop what you’re doing and use this program instead.”

 

NCAA testing could be strengthened


Meeting Attendees
  • Stevie Baker Watson, Director of Athletics, DePauw University
  • Mark Bockelman, Director of NCAA Drug Testing, The National Center for Drug Free Sport
  • Larry Bowers, Chief Science Officer, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency
  • Rob Cabry, Team Physician, Drexel University
  • Augusto Diana, Health Science Administrator, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Deborah Ford, President, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  • Carolayne Henry, Senior Associate Commissioner, Mountain West Conference
  • Kayla Jones, NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Texas Woman’s University)
  • Tammy Loew, Health Advocacy Coordinator, Purdue University
  • John Lombardo, Director of NFL Drug Testing
  • Brad Maldanado, NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Lincoln Memorial University)
  • Andy Smith, Head Athletic Trainer, Canisius College
  • Frank Uryasz, President, The National Center for Drug Free Sport
  • David Wyrick, Faculty Athletics Representative, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Author, myPlaybook

NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline convened a group of experts in April to help the NCAA draft a plan for the future drug testing, drug deterrence and doping education, and to reduce performance-enhancing drug use and recreational drug use among student-athletes.

With more and more programs and awareness campaigns emerging, and with institutional resources devoted to drug testing at a premium, the group is looking for the most effective and efficient ways to enhance student-athlete well-being and protect the integrity of sport.

The NCAA adopted a drug-testing program at the 1986 Convention. It included testing for both performance-enhancing drugs and street drugs. The NCAA currently conducts a year-round program in Divisions I and II (summer testing was added in those two divisions in 2006 and 2007, respectively). Division III considered year-round testing but opted to devote more resources to alcohol education instead (the result is the new initiative called 360 Proof).

At least three-quarters of Divisions I and II schools have an institutional drug-testing program of their own (about 30 percent in Division III).

Hainline’s day-long meeting provided direction on several fronts:

Primarily, the group advocated a more robust year-round program that tests for performance-enhancing drugs, including stimulants. The group agreed that because anabolic steroids are used year-round, especially for training and recovery and not just to “gear up” for one particular event, testing should be year-round. Similarly with stimulants – if student-athletes are taking stimulants to train better, then year-round testing makes sense with these, too. However, the year-round testing program would not include testing for street drugs.

The group also wants to include testing at NCAA championships as part of the year-round testing program. That testing component would include street drugs, as is currently done, and add opiates.

Members also are interested in collaborating with conferences and institutions to standardize testing protocol and sanctions. They believe a uniform testing model is the best way to deter use, but they also acknowledge the challenges of expecting or implementing a standardized model within the large and diverse NCAA membership.

In addition, they want to partner with conferences and schools to enhance and standardize educational efforts and develop a best-practice model for drug-use deterrence, especially for performance-enhancing drugs, for which there currently are few, if any, effective educational programs available.

These recommendations and others will go to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, which oversees NCAA drug-testing and drug-education programs.

Health and safety to be considered in all future playing rule changes

The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports urged sport and playing rules committees to carefully consider the safety consequences of proposed playing rules.

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 816-474-7321 with any questions.

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