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BREAKING NEWS: MLB Drug Testing Policy Updated PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 11 April 2008 10:14

MLBThe following is breaking news regarding Major League Baseball.

The following is the press release from MLB regarding updates to the Joint Drug Agreement (JDA), along with associated statements from the MLBPA and Commissioner's Office. Note that the statement regarding no penalties for players named in the Mitchell Report, the suspensions of Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons have been resended. Also of key interest... the top 200 prospects in the Amateur Draft will now be tested.

In a separate press release, (select Read More to see) it was noted that any fines imposed on management personnel for conduct described in the Mitchell Report will be donated to charity.

 Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed on modifications to the Joint Drug Agreement that respond to the recommendations made by Senator George Mitchell in his December 2007 report. The modifications will become effective after ratification by the 30 Clubs and the players, and will be in place for the remaining term of the Joint Drug Agreement, through December 2011.

The major changes are as follows:

1. The Health Policy Advisory Committee (comprised of management and union officials) has been disbanded and HPAC’s responsibilities for the administration of the Program on performance-enhancing substances have been delegated to the Independent Program Administrator (IPA), Dr. Bryan Smith. Dr. Smith has been appointed for an initial term of three years and his appointment can be renewed for successive four-year terms. During his tenure, Dr. Smith can be removed only if an independent arbitrator confirms that he has acted
in a manner inconsistent with the Program or has engaged in other misconduct that affects his
ability to function as the IPA.

2. The IPA will issue an annual report summarizing the number of tests administered, the number of positive tests resulting in discipline, the substances involved in the positives, the number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted by category of ailment and the number of non-analytical positives. The new agreement also requires that records of negative test results be maintained for two years and requires the IPA annually to audit test results and to review the performance of the collection company and the laboratory.

3. The program adds 600 tests per year (making the total number of tests 3600), an average of three per player per year. The Independent Program Administrator is authorized to conduct up to 375 off-season tests over his three-year initial term, which will, on average, more than double the amount of off-season testing.

4. The new agreement institutionalizes an annual review process during which the bargaining parties will meet with the IPA, the collection company and the laboratory to review the operation of the Program and consider appropriate changes to the Program. As demonstration of the parties’ commitment to improving the Program, the new agreement expands the list of banned substances to include insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), gonadotropins, aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators and antiestrogens, including clomid.

5. The new agreement requires the Independent Program Administrator to develop, in consultation with the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association, an annual, mandatory educational program. Input will be received from the Strength and Conditioning Committee to ensure that the educational efforts emphasize legitimate training methods for
professional athletes.

6. Major League players, including players named in the Mitchell report, will join MLB in participating in efforts designed to educate youth and their parents regarding the dangers of performance-enhancing substances and regarding appropriate and safe training methods.

7. The Players Association, on behalf of its members, will also contribute $200,000 to an antidrug charitable, educational or research organization.

8. In consideration of items 6 and 7, the Commissioner has determined that he will not exercise his authority under the Joint Drug Agreement against Players and former Players named in the Mitchell Report.

9. In future investigations, allegations of player misconduct will not be disclosed publicly by the Commissioner’s Office unless discipline is imposed. A description of the evidence and allegations against a player being investigated will be provided to him before any investigatory interview.

10. Starting in 2009, Major League Baseball will impose uniform certification requirements on fulltime strength and conditioning coaches employed by each Club. Starting in 2010, the Commissioner will issue guidelines designed to ensure that qualified strength and conditioning coaches are available to players at all levels of each organization.

Major League Baseball also announced that its testing program would be expanded to cover the top 200 prospects in the Amateur Draft. Clubs will be notified of players who test positive, but the players will remain draft eligible. Players who refuse to test will not be eligible for selection.

Select Read More to see statements by the Commissioner's Office and the MLB Players' Association.

Don't forget to post your comments on the changes to the policy.

The following are excerpts from several press releases:

From the Commissioner's Office (JOINT DRUG AGREEMENT ADDRESSES MITCHELL RECOMMENDATIONS) 

  • The Commissioner also indicated that any fines imposed on management personnel for conduct described in the Mitchell Report will be donated to the Partnership of a Drug Free America (PDFA) and the Taylor Hooton Foundation. MLB will continue its long-time relationships with both the PDFA and the Hooton Foundation and help fund their anti-drug educational programs.
  • The Commissioner’s decision covers Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals and Jay Gibbons for whom discipline was previously announced. The Commissioner noted, however, that he reserved the right to discipline for conduct related to the sale or distribution of banned substances or criminal convictions unrelated to the use of drugs. “A criminal conviction for perjury, obstruction of justice or similar matters is a serious offense, and will be dealt with accordingly,” Selig said.

 From Donald Fehr and MLBPA Release (MLBPA, MLB Amend Joint Drug Agreement)

“What we have done is taken a program which we believe is the best in professional sports and made it even stronger,” said MLBPA Executive Director Don Fehr.

[...] 

“We are gratified that Commissioner Selig chose to accept Senator Mitchell’s recommendation that no further punishment of players is warranted,” Fehr said. “In many instances the naming of players was punishment enough; in others it may have been unfair. But as Senator Mitchell said, ‘Baseball does not need and cannot afford to engage in a never-ending search for the name of every player who ever used performance enhancing substances.’ The agreement will help the parties get a fresh start and put this issue behind us.”

And, of course, the player will have the opportunity to challenge a determination of wrongdoing before a neutral arbitrator. “These changes were necessary in order to make certain that in any future investigations procedures that ensure fundamental fairness will be in place,” said Fehr.

Finally, Fehr noted, “The agreement is not static. It calls for some changes to be made automatically and provides that others may be implemented after discussion by and agreement of the parties. But a decent respect for collective bargaining demands that the terms of agreements be honored, and obviously the length of the contract is one of those terms. Given the series of modifications which have previously been made, as well as the flexibility provided for in the current JDA, we do not expect to be renegotiating the JDA again prior to the next scheduled round of collective bargaining.”

Source: Major League Baseball, Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Players' Association


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Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
 
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