On Oct. 12, 75 athletes from various sports were administered a mandatory urinalysis drug test to ensure that no one competing on Wesleyan’s teams was using illegal substances.
Steve Trachier, head athletic director, said when he became the athletic director in August 2011, it was the desire of the university to have a drug testing program for athletes.
Trachier said in an email the policy was created by the University Athletic Committee and endorsed by the Student Life Committee and the University Board of Trustees before full implementation.
“Drug testing is a university initiative, not an athletic department initiative,” Trachier said in an email. “The university wants everyone who represents our university to be drug free.”
He said all athletes from every sport will be required to take a drug test throughout the entire school year.
“The program is an effort to provide a deterrent to drug use for our student-athletes,” Trachier said. “It is a means to identify and get professional support to students with substance abuse issues.”
Trachier said the urinalysis will provide a urine specimen, which is then tested for the presence of illicit substances. It is the same protocol used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association drug testing program as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Trachier said for the first offense, students will be required to sit out 1/3 of their competitive season and attend meetings with school counseling professionals. A second offense would force the athlete to miss an entire year of competition, and a third offense would cause removal from the athletic program.
Kendall Kizer, junior education major and red shirt sophomore second baseman, said she has mixed feelings about the mandatory, drug testing.
Kizer said there are things in vitamin water that can test positive for drugs, and there are things in other drinks, such as energy drinks, that can create a false positive.
“I guess it is a good thing, but I don’t know, I’m kind of half and half on it,” Kizer said. “I can understand if you are going to test kids on marijuana, but some energy drinks can show up on drug tests.”
Kizer said she plans to coach softball some day, so as a coach, she can see the benefits of drug testing.
“As a coach I would probably be half and half too,” Kizer said. “Because I do not want my kids to get into trouble, but I want them to follow the rules, too.”
Shannon Jordan, visiting assistant professor of kinesiology and exercise science, said the use of drugs can affect an athlete’s body in more ways than one, but it depends on what type of drugs an athlete is abusing.
“A lot of illegal drugs can increase heart rate,” Jordan said. “If you are an athlete, you typically would not want to increase your heart rate at rest, and then have it increase more than it normally does during exercise.”
Jordan said when athletes increase their heart rates due to illegal drug use, it typically can affect their ability to perform the exercise they want. This can particularly be a problem when exercising in extreme heat.
Jordan said a urinalysis usually tests for illegal drugs, steroids, alcohol and some diuretics.
“I think that the student- athletes who are using drugs probably do not understand the detrimental effects it can have on their exercise performance and their health,” Jordan said. “If you can catch that early enough and explain it to them, the mechanism behind the problems, then you can usually correct that behavior early on.”