lllinois high school athletes no longer required to undergo drug testing
The Illinois High School Association has ended random drug testing for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) among high school athletes.
In a June 12 advisory committee meeting, the IHSA said it would no longer fund the state-mandated program, which had run for five years.
“The state Legislature wrote a law that required the IHSA to conduct random drug testing,” Craig Anderson, executive director of the IHSA, told the McHenry Times recently. “At the time, the IHSA was in agreement with the law, as it provided for some funding to cover the cost of testing. But ultimately, it has stopped funding for the program.”
The IHSA had budgeted $100,000 per year to fund the program, Anderson said. It also received limited funding from the state, although the amount was not revealed.
Anderson said the testing proved worthwhile.
“We discovered that most student athletes were following our guidelines and not using PEDs,” he said. “In five years of testing there were only three positive tests that resulted in athletes being disciplined for the results. Other positive tests occurred but were not disciplined, as the medical review officer confirmed the positive tests were a result of prescribed medication.”
The disbanding of the program is part of a nationwide trend of governing bodies doing away with expensive testing; however, Anderson said that should coaches and athletic programs want to resume testing, the advisory board would reconsider its decision.
“It has allowed us to educate coaches who in turn educate athletes,” he said. “We are confident that the national attention on this subject in recent years has helped to better educate and increase awareness for student-athletes, coaches and parents. The program was enacted as a deterrent for performance-enhancing drug uses, and we feel like it was a success.”
According to the Herald News, the IHSA will now focus more on education and awareness regarding performance-enhancing drugs.