Wall Street Journal nails down quiet change in masters doping rules

Greg Pizza hired Howard Jacobs, who helped Marion Jones beat an EPO rap in 2006.

The WSJ noted Greg Pizza case in its TUE story

Many people sent me the link to Friday’s Wall Street Journal story about TUEs and masters athletes. I knew (back in January) that “recreational” (non-elite) masters could get therapeutic use exemptions for medications that include testosterone, but I buried that element in my Greg Pizza reports. The WSJ made a big deal of it, however: “USADA isn’t broadcasting the news. But it has created a new exemption for masters and amateur athletes who are prescribed banned drugs. Called a Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption, it allows masters and amateur athletes to compete in low-level competitions while taking banned substances. An athlete must prove to USADA that he or she is unlikely to actually win one of these amateur races, in addition to proving a medical need for an illicit chemical.” In a statement to the WSJ, USADA said: “Out of fairness to those non-competitive athletes, we put in place a process that allows for them to compete while still requiring a fair and reasonable review of each recreational athlete’s medical situation.”

The WSJ also noted the 2012 doping case of Roger Wenzel, who returned to competition in 2014.

I didn’t cover this at the time, but here’s the USADA news release for posterity:

USADA announced today (March 8, 2013) that Roger Wenzel, of Yukon, Okla., an athlete in the sport of Track & Field, has tested positive for prohibited substances and received a two-year sanction for committing anti-doping rule violations.

Wenzel, 64, tested positive for Modafanil, a prohibited stimulant, and for exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in a urine sample collected on August 4, 2012 at the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Lisle, Ill. Modafanil and exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids are prohibited substances under the USADA Protocol for Olympic Movement Testing and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Competitors at the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships are advised in advance of the competition that they are subject to drug testing and of the requirement to comply with sport drug testing rules. Mr. Wenzel advised USADA that he was taking the substances under a doctor’s care, but despite being aware of the rules regarding the requirement to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) prior to competition, he did not seek to obtain a TUE to use either Modafinil or Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in advance of the competition.

Wenzel’s two-year period of ineligibility began on September 7, 2012, the date he accepted a provisional suspension. Wenzel has also been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to August 4, 2012, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

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April 24, 2016

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