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UNC-Chapel Hill Adopts Zero-Tolerance Policy For Steroids

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has established a zero-tolerance policy for steroids and strengthened its overall substance abuse policy for student-athletes, the school announced Thursday.

The enhancements were enacted after a nine-month review of the UNC Department of Athletics' substance abuse policy that had been in effect since 1988 and revised in 1997. The new rules go into effect Monday.

"Anabolic steroid abuse is a direct threat to fair play at all levels, but it is a particularly dangerous concern for young athletes," Director of Athletics Dick Baddour said in a news release. "That is one reason we have adopted a zero tolerance policy toward its use. We will not condone any student-athlete who compromises our competitive integrity and puts his or her health in jeopardy in doing so. The message is clear: if you take this shortcut, you will not be able to play at the University of North Carolina."

The university also took steps to bolster its testing, education, counseling and disciplinary sanctions for the use of other banned substances, the school said in a written statement.

A campus-wide committee conducted an extensive review of the previous policy and unanimously recommended the enhancements to Chancellor James Moeser.

UNC will administer more tests than it has under the previous policy to individual student-athletes and entire teams on a random basis throughout the year, both in-season and out-of-season, and all tests will be observed.

When a student-athlete tests positive for a banned substance, the student-athlete will be placed on probation and required to sign a performance contract with the UNC to set a clear standard for behavior, better monitor after-care and determine whether or not the student-athlete will be allowed to return to practice and/or competition, the school said.

Lack of compliance with the terms of the performance contract may result in suspension or permanent loss of athletic eligibility.

A positive test for a banned substance other than anabolic agents requires that a student-athlete undergo a counseling and intervention program designed by UNC Student Health Service. The plan includes an assessment of the extent of the problem, development of a treatment plan and monitoring. Each student-athlete will have an individual plan specifically designed to assist him or her.

A student-athlete who tests positive for a banned substance any time during or after a period of probation imposed under the policy will be suspended for at least 50 percent of one season. A student-athlete who tests positive for a banned substance at any time during or after a suspension imposed under the policy will have his or her athletic eligibility terminated, pending student appeal. The Director of Athletics is empowered to revoke eligibility upon any positive test if deemed warranted.

A committee established by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs would hear the appeal and advise the Vice Chancellor on the disposition of the appeal. No member of the department of athletics is eligible to sit on the appeals committee.

The new policy emphasizes drug education and counseling for those student-athletes who test positive.

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