NCAA looks to keep drugs off diamond in wake of MLB scandals
Updated 6/14/2006 7:53 PM ET
By Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY

Prompted in part by the Major League Baseball scandal, the NCAA is stepping up testing for steroid use in college baseball.

For the first time, all 64 teams in the association's Division I baseball tournament were assured of being tested at regionals this year. The NCAA held out the threat of further screening at last week's super regionals and the College World Series, which opens Friday in Omaha.

More significantly, officials say, the association is expanding its year-round random screening for steroids and masking agents into the summer, focusing first on baseball and football. The first of those tests will be conducted next week.

Ten players five in both baseball and football from 22 schools ultimately will be tested. Selected at random, they'll be sought out at home or other summer locations and given no more than 48 hours' notice.

"These guys know they're going to be tested at the championship," says Frank Uryasz, president of the Kansas City, Mo., based National Center for Drug Free Sport, which runs the program for the NCAA.

"What we needed to do was fill the obvious hole in the program, and that was the two or 21/2 months in the summer when they simply knew they weren't going to be drug-tested. To fill that time up with some random, short-notice drug testing, I think, is a huge accomplishment."

The additional testing will cost the NCAA $150,000.

Baseball and football players are among those most likely to admit steroid use 2.3% in both sports, compared with 1.2% of responding athletes across the board according to the NCAA's most recent substance-use survey.

Revelations and allegations of the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball heightened the concern.

"It did have an impact on the folks who were asking for more testing," said Mary Wilfert, liaison to the association's Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

The NCAA has tested during its baseball championships since 1986, though not continuously.

It previously tested some years at regionals, others at super regionals or the College World Series.

Six randomly selected players from each of the 64 participating teams were screened during regionals this month.

In addition to steroids, testing at NCAA championships targets drugs such as amphetamines, marijuana and other recreational substances.

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