Any student-athlete can tell you that drugs are prohibited in sports and by the NCAA. But could they tell you which ones? Most of them don’t even know that some of the stuff they consume everyday could potentially have a banned substance in it.
Unfortunately, today it has become so easy for kids to get their hands on all kinds of drugs, especially street drugs. But they also have easy access to other substances that could affect not only their performance, but their eligibility. The NCAA and other sports organizations ban the use of drugs for the safety and health of their athletes and to maintain the integrity of the sport. Even if it is not your intention to use drugs, there’s still a chance that you could test positive for a substance just by using things you find over-the-counter.
Many athletes assume that because supplements and products are easily bought in retail stores and online that they are safe to consume and that they won’t be at risk of violating the NCAA banned substance list. This is just not the case. Some of the dietary supplements, cold medications, or pain relievers that you purchase from your local drug store could contain substances from the banned list.
Here is just a sample of what the NCAA includes on their Banned Substance List:
- Stimulants: caffeine (in certain quantities), ephedrine, methamphetamines
- Anabolic Agents: steroids, testosterone (in certain quantities)
- Street Drugs: Heroin, Marijuana, THC, Alcohol, Tobacco (during practice or competitions)
- Peptide Hormones and Analogues: HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), HGH (Human growth Hormone)
- Masking Agents
If you test positive for anything on the banned substance list, you will be punished; this can include game suspensions, season suspensions, loss of eligibility, or even expulsion from a team. It is up to you, the athlete, to know and understand the banned drugs and find some safe alternatives for them. You can do this through the NCAA on their website, or by talking to your team’s trainer, doctor, or nutritionist. Most of the time, retail store clerks or distributors do not have full knowledge of the NCAA rules and their advice should not be relied on. Remember that drug appeals are rarely granted because an athlete “didn’t know.”