Are you an incoming student-athlete, pursuing to become the best at a college sport for the next four years? Or do you ever wonder how the whole process with athletes being drug tested goes at JMU? For my final article I am going to talk about athletic drug testing at James Madison University and NCAA drug testing as well; along with information of which drugs are tested, I will take you through the process of how drug tests are done. This is something that is taken very seriously in athletics and in recent years since athletes have failed multiple drug tests there have been an increase in drug testing. Every two weeks twenty-four random athletes are selected and drug tested.
The process begins with the athletic trainer of the sport calling you into their office and telling you to sign a sheet of paper saying that they have notified you of a drug test the next day at six in the morning. The athletic trainer will also tell you not to drink too much fluids or try to flush your system of drugs that you may or may not have taken (doing this is just as bad as failing).
JMU drug tests are held in Montpilier Hall at the old Rockingham Memorial Hospital; not showing up for one is just as bad and will result in a positive drug test, which can lead to a suspension. As an athlete you will go into the building around six in the morning and fill out paperwork so they know that you are who you say you are. After that, they hand you a cup to urinate in, usually one of the staff members is in the bathroom with you to prevent the athlete from trying to manipulate a drug test. After urinating in the cup you take it back to the person where you filled out the paperwork and they send it off later that day to be tested at a lab. You will find out if you passed or failed within three days of being drug tested; my trainer always tells me that they will only tell you if you have failed a test, so no response means you have passed.
The common drugs tested in a JMU drug test are Marijuana, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, PCP, Codeine, Morphine, and Heroine. Each drug has a different half-life and stays in your urine for a different amount of time. For example, Marijuana is going to stay in your system for a longer period of time because the THC sticks to the fatty substances in your body which takes longer to metabolize.
The first offense on failing a JMU drug test is at the coaches discretion, which means the coach determines how long the player should be suspended for. The second time a player fails a drug test, the university is told and the player is suspended for half of the season, both times the player has to take AA classes. The third time a player has failed a drug test means that the player is permanently suspended from the team, meaning they cannot play for the rest of their time at that school.
The NCAA is the same way as the JMU testing in a sense of the process that is taken. The only thing different is that the NCAA tests for drugs like steroids, HGH (Human Growth Hormones), and Testosterone boosters; most recently they have started testing for Adderall and medication to treat ADD and ADHD because this drug has become pretty popular amongst athletes nation-wide; so pretty much just performance enhancing drugs. Another thing different with the NCAA is that they will only come test athletes at a school once a semester, unless the team makes the playoffs, then they will be tested after almost every game. The location of these drug tests are held in the Athletic Performance Center at six in the morning as well.
Drugs like steroids, HGH, and Testosterone boosters can stay up into your system for about a month after cycling off of them, meaning that usually you are given a month’s supply when the supplements are bought and after you have taken the supplement for a month it will take another whole month to be out of your system, sometimes even longer.
The last thing that is different with NCAA drug testing is that after a player has failed his/her first drug test they are suspended for a whole year. The second time a player fails a drug test they are done forever and cannot return to playing sports. They look at it as if you put it in your body then you should know what is legal and what is illegal in it, so they are a lot stricter on athletes failing drug tests.
The only way it is okay to have a banned drug show up on a drug test is if the athlete is prescribed it. For example, if the athlete has ADD or ADHD they are allowed to take Adderall and therefore are allowed to have that specific drug show up on a drug test. The same thing with painkillers; as long as they are prescribed it and have filled out all the paperwork, which is done at the beginning of the year, then they are fine if it shows up on a drug test.
I believe this is something that has to be done so each sport that is played can uphold their integrity of that sport. Today, people see way too many athletes getting away with steroids and other types of drugs on T.V. and I believe that it takes away from the game. I think drug testing is the best way to keep this from happening, but I also believe that if someone is taking or using something that doesn’t harm their body or doesn’t give them an unfair advantage then that drug should not be tested for while being drug tested.