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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 05/02/2011 3:36 PM
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The Week That Was
By Tony Gerdeman

Sorry this is a couple of days late, nobody ever told me when it was due and I never found out until I was directed to an obscure blog post.

On Sunday, the Grand Rapids Press printed a story about Grand Valley State football player Zach Breen, who has been suspended for five games this year by the NCAA for using a banned substance.

The problem, however, is that nobody knew the substance--Methylhexaneamine--was banned. It's found in several dietary supplements, including the one Breen was using--Jack3d.

From the article:  The NCAA drug tests college athletes randomly several times throughout the year. Additionally, GVSU conducts its own tests roughly once a month.

Since he first enrolled at GVSU, Breen said he had been tested at least nine times -- including once by the NCAA in early September while he was taking Jack3d -- and never failed.

But after the Lakers lost to Augustana (S.D.) College in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs Thanksgiving weekend, Breen tested positive for the newly banned methylhexaneamine and the NCAA initially suspended him for the entire 2011 season.

GVSU and Breen appealed the suspension, which was then reduced to five games, but that's probably five games more than it should be.

Stoessner [the school's head athletic trainer] said he never received a phone call or email from the NCAA stating methylhexaneamine had been added to the banned list. Instead, he was directed to a blog written by the Center for Drug Free Sport, the official administrator of the NCAA’s drug testing programs. Sure enough, a September post had announced the update and specifically mentioned that the substance could be found in Jack3d.

Stoessner said he had no idea and was never informed. He may not have been alone. When he signed up for blog updates in January, he was the eighth person to do so. When he pulled up the blog again this week, it had increased to 12 followers.

He wonders how many other colleges and athletes are missing key updates.

"I really believe it’s up to them to make sure they know what they’re putting in their body, but by the same token the kid did was he was told to do and I feel like I did what I was told to do," Stoessner said. "We didn’t have access to some obscure information that was about two months old -- or even less than that."

The Center for Drug Free Sport referred questions to the NCAA. The NCAA did not respond to requests for comment.

The website and blog post that Stoessner was referred to is likely this one, but given how "7th-grade project" it looks, and the complete lack of any presence of the NCAA on the site, you can understand how either I am totally wrong, or nobody would think that this would actually be the end-all, be-all of NCAA drug sites.

At the blog post, the author gives a long history and usage lecture, and describes where Methylhexaneamine can be found. It's only in the final paragraph where we see this sentence:

"If you are using any of these supplements, please be aware that the presence of this ingredient will cause a positive drug test."

The blog itself bares no mention of its affiliation with the NCAA, even though the site that spawned the blog does. Of course, should you miss a portion of the constant slideshow of clients, you may not even know they work with the NCAA.

To add to the confusion, according to the author of the blog post--which the NCAA apparently deems The Word when it comes to such matters--there is no actual list of banned substances that the NCAA makes available.

Here's a comment from the author "EPatt" when asked by an NCAA athlete why Methylhexaneamine isn't on the "banned" list.

"I suggest that you stop taking Jack3d at once. The NCAA does not have a "list" of banned drugs, they give examples, but they also say that the examples are not a complete list of banned substances. Dietary supplements can change daily and often times they include ingredients that can cause a positive drug test, but also could be harmful to your health. You could test positive on a NCAA test because Methylhexaneamine is a stimulant."

So, apparently, not only does the NCAA not have a constantly updated and available list of things to stay away from, but if you do want to keep up to date, you're supposed to read a blog that has no affiliation to the NCAA.

The fact that I created a junk blog for my silly opening shows you just how easy blogspot sites are to create, and somehow the NCAA is okay with being the one site to rule all others.

I could not be any less surprised.


In happier news, the NCAA announced last week that they were putting a moratorium on adding any new bowls.

I call it good news, but you know this won't play well in Ann Arbor. How will they cope with their bowl chances lessening by the day?

(That was a joke. I know the Big Ten already has tons of bowl affiliations, which is why Michigan shouldn't be worrying this season.)

Still, it's nice to see that the madness will stop for at least a little while. With recent talks of allowing teams with losing records into bowl games, the entire system needed to just step away from the planet for a while.


Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany came out and said that had he known that Jim Tressel knew about the Tat Five's transgressions, he wouldn't have advocated for the players to play in the Sugar Bowl.

If my recollection is remotely correct, after Gene Smith thanked Delany for his help in the matter during that awkward press conference involving Smith, Tressel and E. Gordon Gee (can we call this "Press Conference-gate", yet), Delany said he played no part in keeping the players eligible, citing an NCAA loophole instead.

You know that thing that I did that I said I didn't do, well had I known then what I know now, I totally wouldn't have done what I said I didn't do.

I think the double-speak of Chicago politics has seeped into the Big Ten offices.

Or do I?


I was a fan of the new live-ball enforcement of unsportsmanlike penalties this season because I thought it would bring a uniformity to referees throughout college football.

I grew tired of seeing one thing allowed in the SEC and disallowed in the Big Ten. I thought the new rule was a chance to get everybody back on the same page.

However, after reading a few quips from SEC officials, it appears that there is no such thing as "the same page" and everybody will be again working with loose leaf paper with nary a dog-eared corner to be found.

John Wright, a Knoxville-based SEC official, says conference officials won’t be “nitpicky.”

“If somebody turns a flip or flips a bird at somebody, a team should be penalized,” he said. “But if somebody does something borderline, we will not call it. Everybody in the stadium will know (that it was an unsportsmanlike act) if we call it.

“The way we have been told (by the SEC), these things have to jump out at you. If a guy stands over somebody and beats his chest, we know that’s a foul.”

Contrast that thought process by what goes on in the Big Ten. Diving into the endzone between tacklers is a penalty. Showing your gloves is a penalty. Holding, however, is alive and well.

The idiotic thing in all of this is that I foolishly wanted everybody else to succumb to the Big Ten's fun-hating ways. My thought process was that if we in the Big Ten had to suffer, then everybody else should as well.

But I think I see things clearly now, and for the first time ever, the SEC should actually be applauded for its leniency, and the Big Ten should be more like the SEC.

Now don't ever make me type those words again.

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