IHSA approves random drug tests
Beginning next fall, student-athletes who compete in Illinois High School Association postseason events will be subject to random tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
The IHSA board of directors unanimously approved the proposal during Monday’s meeting in Bloomington, the IHSA reported. The group represents more than 750 Illinois high schools.
IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said the random testing will apply to students competing in an IHSA state series, including regionals, sectionals and state championships. Penalties for students who test positive as well as how the tests will be administered will be discussed at next month’s IHSA board meeting.
“I’m all in favor of doing anything that will keep these kids from doing something that’s bad for them. I don’t see steroids as being a big issue, at least not at our school, but it can’t hurt,” said Dan Appino, Boylan’s head football coach. “I really think kids are looking for a reason not to get involved with that stuff, so this could help.”
Although most of the coaches and athletes believe it is not a problem in the area, few if any seem to be opposed to the new testing program.
“I know it’s not a problem at Auburn, and I don’t think it’s something we deal with much at all in this area. But it does make you wonder. Something has to be going on out there if this is going into effect,” Auburn senior track and field athlete Nicoh Newton said. “Everybody knows they’re out there. It’s probably tempting to a lot of guys. I’m not going to do it — if I make something of myself, I want to do it myself.”
The testing procedures will not begin until the 2008-09 school year, and there are still plenty of issues to hash out before then. Dakota wrestling coach Pete Alber said the questions of who will give the tests, who will pay for them and how to penalize athletes after a positive test result are key to whether this new program works or not.
“They have to do it right to make it work, but it can work,” Alber said. “It’s very important to keep things at a level playing field. You have to do what you have to do.”
Staff reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.