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