Steroid use: Administrator talks drug testing

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Though the NCAA has strict sanctions against the use of steroids and other drugs, sometimes the cost of these drug tests hinders the actual enforcement of the rules.

Random tests provide weak deterrence and, by design, fail to catch every player using steroids. Drug testing at the institutional level for DIII schools is uncommon because it is expensive and the likelihood of use is a lot smaller compared to Division I schools, where the pressure to perform is greater.

Pacific athletes do not have to commonly deal with drug testing. Most Division III athletes don’t.

In fact, according to Associate Athletic Director, Lauren Esbensen, Pacific University is very comparable to all of the other schools in the Northwest Conference in its implementation of drug testing.

Instead of tests, most DIII schools, including Pacific, rely on substance abuse education and outreach.

Though, Esbensen added the school does have the means to test a student-athlete, if they suspect there is an issue of substance abuse.

DIII athletes are most likely to be tested when they reach an NCAA regional or national competition,because DIII drug testing typically comes at the championship events.

Recent alumnus Eric Harder ‘15 was drug tested when he competed in the Wrestling National Championships in March 2015.

“I was surprised, all four years I wrestled at Pacific I never got drug tested until I made it to Nationals,” said Harder.

The NCAA also has the ability to come to a university, Pacific included, at any time and perform drug tests on the school’s athletes.

If a Pacific student athlete were to test positive on a drug test, the university would comply with the NCAA as far as punishments and sanctions.

According to the NCAA drug testing consent form, punishment for failing a drug test a first time may be as severe as loss of a year’s worth of eligibility.

“You will really only see multiple types of drug testing—institutional, conference and NCAA drug testing—at some of the larger institutions that are DI, and I think it has a lot to do with likelihood of use and money,” said Esbensen

A student who asked to remain anonymous admits to experimenting with steroids, but not when part of Pacific’s football team.

Now, no longer part of the team, he stays active through running and weightlifting. He uses steroids to help him increase his strength and gain muscle.

“You feel so amped, it’s awesome,” he said. “You can only make so much natural gains ’til your body requires enhancements. I think the hype about the negatives of steroid use is over exaggerated. Anything is fine in moderation.”

He said the one down side he noticed was a tendency to become aggressive if he drank alcohol, and so he has been mindful of that.

“I take it in pill form and through other supplements but I would also be open to trying injections,” he said.

While drug testing is not common for Pacific athletes, they should be mindful of the fact that a test could come at any time, and the consequences for failing may be severe.


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