INDIANAPOLIS---With the two-year Division III Drug Education and Testing Pilot Program complete, the Division III Presidents Council is now considering next steps in the education and testing of student-athletes.
Division III currently conducts drug testing at its championships only, however individual schools may conduct their own testing throughout the year. Division I and II conduct year-round drug testing.
The two-year pilot program provided resources for 80 participating member schools to provide drug education to their student-athletes and/or additional drug testing.
The program included a $1,000 annual enhancement fund for each participating institution to further supplement NCAA-supported education programs such as the CHOICES grant program, the Health and Safety Speakers Grant, Athletic Prevention Programming and Leadership Education (APPLE) or a school's current drug education program.
The Presidents Council will consider the following options for a future drug education and testing program:
- Retention in its current form of championships testing for performance enhancing drugs and illegal street drugs.
- Enhanced educational programming.
- Academic year-round drug testing (e.g. performance enhancing drugs and illegal street drugs or performance enhancing drugs only).
- Optional funding for campus-based testing through a new allocation to the existing strategic initiative conference grant program.
"This program was implemented in the spirit of student-athlete well-being and finding ways to educate and deter student-athletes in the use of performance enhancing drugs and street drugs," said Jim Harris, president of Widener University and incoming chair of the Division III Presidents Council. "We will take the findings from the pilot program and determine what direction to take from here that will be in the best interest of student-athletes."
The program included random drug tests being administered during each of the two academic years of the pilot at the participating institutions. Selected student-athletes were tested for anabolic agents, diurectics, peptide hormones, urine manipulators, stimulants and street drugs. There were no NCAA sanctions imposed on either the student-athletes or the institution when testing returned positive results.
A two-group experimental design was used in the pilot program:
- Drug Education and Testing Group: This group participated in both the education and testing treatments of the pilot study. It included 80 institutions with about 20 drug tests per year and a select number randomly chosen for testing on two occasions (repeat testing).
- Drug Education Only Group: This group participated in the education treatment of the pilot study only (18 institutions with no drug testing). The study concluded that the use of anabolic steroids, stimulants and illegal street drugs, as self-reported by Division III student-athletes, is present across different sports, experimental groups and years of study. The study shows that awareness, understanding and perceptions of the processes in place during the pilot to deter substance use were at less than desired levels. The study also concludes that behavior was not been measurably affected by the deterrence program implemented during this pilot program.