Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > Steroid penalties for Ohio State athletes would be loosened if proposed bill is approved
October 13, 2014
Steroid penalties for Ohio State athletes would be loosened if proposed bill is approved
ohio-stadium-2011-horiz-mf.jpg COLUMBUS, Ohio—Ohio State University would have to be more lenient toward athletes caught using steroids or drugs if state lawmakers pass proposed state-imposed penalties, a school official said Friday. Many cleveland.com readers also spoke out against the measure, which also would require drug testing for athletes at Ohio’s private and public colleges during annual physicals and before championship games. Under the bill, introduced Wednesday with bipartisan support, athletes caught using illegal drugs or steroids would have to complete an on-campus drug treatment program offered by the school. The bill exempts alcohol use. A second offense would bring a two-game suspension, while third and fourth infractions would bring loss of state-supported financial aid and dismissal from the team, respectively. Rep. Peter Beck, a Mason Republican co-sponsoring the bill, said he wants to make sure that any athletes who are using drugs are found and placed into treatment. The lawmaker said he came up with the idea for the bill after hearing about two Pittsburgh Steelers players charged with marijuana possession. However, many of Ohio State’s existing penalties for athletes found with drugs are more severe than what the bill proposes, according to Assistant Athletics Director Janine Oman. Under school rules, athletes caught using illegal drugs face an intervention, similar to what the bill proposes, she said. But second-time drug offenders are suspended by Ohio State for two weeks, Oman said – which, in some sports, could mean they would miss more than two games. A third drug infraction brings a one-year suspension with possible loss of all school financial aid, Oman said, though such a penalty is rarely imposed. Ohio State’s penalties for steroid use are even more severe, Oman said. Players caught once using performance-enhancing drugs are suspended for 25 percent of their season; repeat offenders are dismissed from the team. Oman also said it would be expensive for Ohio State to regularly test its 1,000 or so athletes. Each steroid test costs between $100 and $150, she said, while drug tests run about $25 apiece. Oman said the new bill, House Bill 633, presents some “challenges,” though she said school officials hope to work with lawmakers on resolving them. “I think the intent is good, but you have to look at what are all the impacts in making that,” she said. http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/10/drug_penalties_for_ohio_state.html