Steroid use appears to be on the decline in college sports -- or at least the National Collegiate Athletic Association is catching fewer athletes using the performance enhancing drugs.
The association said on Thursday that its Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports had released a report showing that 49 athletes had tested positive for steroid use during the association's year-round testing in 2004-5, and that two had posted negative results in testing during NCAA championships that year. As recently as 2002-3, 80 athletes tested positive during regular season testing and five in postseason testing.
"These results are encouraging and are the direct result of an ongoing partnership between the NCAA and member institutions to continue to strengthen drug testing efforts by providing education and awareness programs," said Jerry Koloskie, senior associate athletics director at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and incoming chair of the NCAA competitive safeguards committee.
The upbeat news about steroid use was tempered by testing statistics suggesting that other forms of drug use by athletes appear to be on the rise.
For instance, as seen in the tables below, positive tests for stimulants (often amphetamines) have increased steadily since 2000-1, rising from 5 that year to 14 in 2004-5 in testing during NCAA championships. (The NCAA noted that some of those athletes might have been taking prescribed medication that contained stimulants.) And positives results for street drugs -- 17 in 2004-5 -- hit their highest total in five years. Most of the positive tests were for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
The NCAA also reported that 17 athletes had failed to show for drug testing in the year-round testing program in 2004-5, which results in an automatic one-year suspension from competition.
Positive Drug Results in NCAA Year-Round Testing
Positive Drug Results in NCAA Championship Testing