Zero-Tolerance Action Plan
- Increase efforts to catch and punish cheaters
- Expand USATF educational efforts
- Take a more visible role on these issues
1. Increase efforts to catch and punish cheaters
USA Track & Field will expand its efforts to catch cheating athletes and
coaches and those that supply them. This effort will take many forms and will be
incremental to our existing efforts in this area. It represents the most direct
and effective means of creating the level playing field we all seek. This is a
tough and aggressive course of action -- as we know from the last 14 years,
catching drug cheats itself creates in the publics mind the notion that a
sport has a drug problem (and the flip side is true sports that dont
test have no drug problem). Unfair as that may be, this is our only way
out of our current problem and we must choose this route.
Among the elements of the Zero Tolerance action plan are:
- Increase the number of tests. We have written and requested that all
testing authorities (USADA, WADA, IAAF) increase significantly the number of
out-of-competition tests administered to our athletes. While our athletes
are already the most tested athletes in the world (many of them are tested
10 or more times a year), we must protect their reputations and those of our
sport by having the testing authorities increase the frequency of testing.
Note: USA Track & Field athletes are among the most tested athletes of
any sport or sports team in the world. We expect our athletes to be tested
more than 1300 times by USADA in 2003, a 20% increase over 2001, with more
than 50% of those tests expected to be conducted out-of-competition
(compared to 21% in 2001 the number of out-of-competition tests has
tripled between 2001 and 2003). In addition, athletes are subject to IAAF
and WADA testing. In 2002, USATF athletes were tested 414 times by the IAAF
(377) and WADA (37), with 67% of those tests being conducted
- Create and implement a whistle-blower program. Based on the success
of USADAs efforts to take a tip from a track coach, isolate a substance,
and catch a group of athletes and their supplier, we must make it easier for
athletes and coaches to report the existence of drugs, cheaters, and those
who supply them. We have done this by establishing a hotline # --
1-866-809-8104. Athletes, coaches, and members of the public can contact
this number to report information in confidence. All information collected
will be shared with USADA. We urge the USOC and USADA to set up similar
- Hire a private investigator. USA Track & Field has written to the USOC
and USADA and urged them to hire a private investigator who would get inside
our sport and other Olympic sports and develop intelligence concerning who
is cheating, how they are cheating, and who is supplying them. This could
include attempts by the investigator to obtain so-called designer
steroids and pass them along to USADA and other testing authorities. The
investigator should also cooperate with counterparts at the professional
sports leagues and with governmental authorities in circumstances where the
distribution of the substances is contrary to Federal and/or state laws. We
believe that this is best approached on a multi-sport basis, but will
explore launching this initiative ourselves if neither the USOC nor USADA go
forward with it.
- Organize Zero Tolerance Anti-Cheating Seminars. USA Track & Field is
moving forward with plans to work with other NGBs to hold seminars aimed at
collecting information from former cheaters who are willing to identify how
they cheated or facilitated cheaters. All information collected will be
shared with USADA.
- Increase Penalties for athletes found guilty. USA Track & Field will
explore the legality under the Amateur Sports Act of increasing the
penalties for athletes convicted of doping violations. This could include
lifetime bans for first steroid offenses.
- Impose fines against athletes found guilty. In addition to any warnings or
suspensions imposed by USATF and IAAF rules, USATF will launch a program to
fine guilty athletes. Those convicted of stimulant positives will be fined
up to $10,000. Those convicted of offenses involving a two-year ban
(including, for example, steroids or amphetamines) will be fined up to
$100,000. All fines collected will be used for anti-doping research,
education, and investigation.
- Punish Coaches of athletes found guilty. USA Track & Field will create
a program to ban the coaches of athletes who test positive from our sport.
In addition, the coaches will be fined up to $100,000, will not be eligible
to be the coach of a U.S. Team, and will not be eligible for any USATF
The vast majority of our athletes and coaches are living by the rules and
achieving results honestly and fairly. We owe it to those athletes to make every
effort to get the cheats out of our sport so that the clean athletes can receive
the respect and admiration they deserve. Given the vote of support from the
USATF Board, most of the initiatives above can be implemented immediately though
some will require USATF Bylaws changes (which can enacted as early as December).
2. Expand USATF educational efforts
USATF already has one of the leading anti-doping educational programs of any
sports governing body. Beginning with our Junior Olympics, athletes receive
anti-doping information. However, whatever we are doing must be expanded and
improved as there are clearly too many athletes and coaches who are not
listening to what we are telling them.
We must send regular, clear, and consistent messages to athletes and coaches
that drug use is morally and ethically wrong, dangerous for their health, and
ruinous to our sport. We must make it clear that we will not stop our
anti-doping efforts until we have caught the last cheater no matter how
smart they think they are, they will be caught.
Among the elements of the Zero Tolerance action plan are:
- Create an elite athlete outreach program focused on anti-doping messaging.
Utilize Golden Spike Tour community outreach programs and USATF youth events to
introduce USATF zero tolerance program message via presentations by USATF elite
athletes present and past.
- Establish a monthly anti-doping newsletter sent to our 2,000 leading
athletes, coaches, and agents. This newsletter will be incorporated into Elite
Beat (our elite athlete magazine) for six of the twelve months. In addition, we
will expand anti-doping section of USATF Elite Athlete Handbook.
- Launch joint ventures with in-sport publications that will put anti-drug
information and messaging in each one on a monthly basis. Our goal should be to
reach all post-collegiate athletes, the 100,000 collegiate athletes, the four
million participants age 18 and younger, and Americas 65,000 track and field
coaches. We should look for web-based opportunities for distributing this
information as well.
- Expand the number and reach of our anti-doping seminars with athletes.
Continue and expand existing elite athlete anti-doping seminars, including our
Annual Meeting and Rookie Camp seminars. Establish a seminar program tailored
for younger athletes, particularly our 8-18 year old Junior Olympics
participants and their club coaches.
- Send anti-doping information directly to youth clubs and distribute it via
USATFs 57 local associations. Initiate an anti-doping poster program aimed at
youth clubs. Make an anti-doping education segment a key element of the new Club
- Expand the existing anti-doping curriculum in our Coaching Education
In addition to expanding the reach and regularity of our anti-drug messaging,
we need to seek the help of experts to make sure that we maximize the impact of
these opportunities. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP
The Drug Czar) has spent considerable resources to figure out what kind of
anti-drug messaging works and we should solicit their assistance in crafting the
content of our publications and curricula. As noted below, we should look to
partner with relevant federal and state agencies whenever possible to expand the
reach of our educational efforts.
3. Take a more visible role on these issues
In addition to taking the aggressive, substantive action outlined above, we
must increase USA Track & Fields profile in the overall anti-doping
effort. We should not do this merely for public relations reasons we must be
present whenever and wherever these issues are discussed to lend others our hard
won expertise and learn what we can do better to address our problem.
Among the elements of the zero tolerance action plan are:
- Issue a call for an emergency drugs in sports summit in Washington, D.C.
-- to be held in the next two weeks. USA Track & Field has issued a call for
a summit among the major sports leagues and organizations to take place in the
next two weeks. The unfolding Balco scandal is not a track, baseball, or
football issue, it is an issue facing the entire American sports and social
scene involving the distribution of illegal substances, adulteration and
non-regulation of supplements, and the actions of lab gurus to prey on
unsuspecting athletes and coaches across America. We have asked the Drug Czars
office to host the meeting.
- Create anti-drug Public Service Announcements (PSAs) utilizing our
athletes and coaches. Run those PSAs on our 12 USATF-owned television shows and
seek placement of the PSAs via other outlets. Focus on the message that track
and field tests more than any other sport, that using drugs is cheating, and
that in track cheaters get caught and are banned from our sport. Work with NBC
and the Road to Athens producers to include anti-drug messaging in their
- Lobby Congress to regulate food supplements and the Federal Government to
get serious about catching steroid traffickers (including via H.R. 207). Our
existing support for CASPER (the Coalition for Anabolic Steroid Precursor and
Ephedra Regulation) is the right kind of action to take, but we must mobilize
our grass roots power to speak out to public officials on these issues.
- Engage the IAAF on the drug issue in a positive and productive way. We
must urge the IAAF to enforce its own rules requiring all IAAF member countries
to conduct out-of-competition testing. The IAAF has said that fewer than 30
countries conduct random, unannounced, out-of-competition testing. With more
than 40 IAAF countries winning medals (and more than half of the top
medal-winning countries doing no out-of-competition testing), we cannot allow
our athletes to be subject to a stringent anti-doping regime while their
international competitors face no domestic testing at all. We must also propose
as a matter of urgency that the IAAF increase the penalties for doping
- Focus on international and domestic relationship building. USATF has been
ineffective at developing and implementing both an international relations plan
and a plan for pushing its agenda at the USOC. Fundamental to the push for an
effective, worldwide anti-doping plan will be initiating and strengthening
political ties at both the IAAF and USOC.
- Work with other NGBs to share ideas and best practices and look for ways
to improve our mutual anti-doping efforts. Seven other NGBs have had athletes
sanctioned for doping violations in 2003 including USA Swimming (5) and USA
Cycling (4). Sharing experiences and expertise with those large and
well-organized NGBs can help us attack the doping problem more effectively.
- Publish negative test results. More than 99% of the tests administered to
U.S. track athletes did NOT result in positive lab results in 2002. The only way
to protect the vast majority of athletes who are innocent is to publish their
names and the statistics related to their negative tests. This information is
already partially available on the USADA website (the USADA site does not
include IAAF and WADA test results), but we should look to publicize this
information as well.
- Utilize our website and other communications tools to emphasize our zero