Apologies for the late post: I had to fight the snow (and am continuing to do so).
We start this snowy morning with some news from the NCAA, where we learn that the NCAA will take a closer look at considering an athlete’s personal circumstances into account when deciding whether to grant waivers. (For those of you who are unaware of what waivers are – athletes typically seek waivers when athletes are rendered ineligible for NCAA competition for any number of reasons. Waivers give athletes permission to compete in a sport due to some excusable reason). The call for a less restrictive waiver process became apparent when feedback from the membership revealed that numerous student-athletes faced more severe penalties for violations that did not fit the severity of the punishment. The previous legislation instructed institutions not to see a student-athlete’s personal situation as a substantial factor.
NCAA vice president for Academic and Membership affairs Kevin Lennon cautioned that the heavy emphasis on student-athletes’ circumstances will exist only for two years. After the two-year review, a new structure under the regulations will be in effect; what that legislation looks like is yet to be determined. Rest assured, a committee is working up new guidelines that will replace the current ephemeral structure. The new review is limited in scope, however: in cases where an athlete transfers schools, for example, will not fall under the scope. Rather, the new legislation focuses on issues such as when “a prospective student-athlete participated in limited or loosely organized competition…or engaged in competition while serving in the military.” I imagine if pentathlete Sami Spenner of the University of Nebraska-Omaha heard about this, she would want to test the waters in determining whether her case would fall under the new review, and whether her circumstances would push her over the threshold in earning a waiver.
Turning to international news, a big announcement made by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) yesterday when it reimposed a provisional ban on all competitions (whether in Turkey or internationally) for Turkish Olympic 1500 meter Champion Asli Çakır Alptekin. Initially, the Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) provisionally suspended Alptekin last May, due to “abnormalities detected in her passport.” Note: when discussing biological passports, the writer does not mean the one you need to get through border control; rather, biological passports are “individual blood profiles for each athlete.” It is a testing mechanism; instead of looking for specific performance-enhancing drugs, an athlete’s blood is analyzed for its contents. In this way, testers may determine whether there is something aberrant contained in the blood. It is a more accurate way of testing for doping, because testers are not looking for specific drugs – only contents that “deviate markedly” from what is normally in blood.
The suspension precluded her from competing in the World Championships in Moscow last August. In December 2013, TAF uplifted the suspension in a controversial manner. IAAF became suspicious, which prompted it to challenge TAF’s ruling. In challenging TAF’s ruling, IAAF referenced Rule 42, which allows the IAAF to appeal the decision before “the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (Switzerland) against the decision of the Turkish Athletics Federation Disciplinary Board.” Both TAF and Alptekin are cited as defendants. Additionally, Rule 42.15 gives IAAF the power to reimpose the suspension on Alptekin, based on IAAF’s decision to appeal. The provisional suspension goes into effect immediately, and prevents Alptekin from all competitions, whether in Turkey or internationally, pending the final result of her case.
Suspension is not new to Alptekin, unfortunately. In 2004, she served a two-year suspension after testing positive at the World Junior Championships. If she loses this case, it may count as a second offense. Athletes who suffer two offenses may face a life ban from the sport, and it is possible that she will lose that privilege.
Asafa Powell, a former 100 meter world champion and a former world record holder with a 9.78 in 2008, may hear the doping panel’s decision on his positive drug test within two weeks. The case began when Powell tested positive for oxilofrine (a banned substance under WADA) at the Jamaican national championships in June of last year. A hearing held by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission in January underwent a series of starts and stops; now, it is on hold for two more weeks.
JADCO and Powell’s attorneys did “agree to a final submission of evidence on February 26,” but there is still a disagreement on a report labeled “very, very significant” by Jamaica Anti-Doping agency attorney Lackston Robinson. One of Powell’s attorneys, Kwame Gordon, argued that if the report was introduced into evidence, one of their witnesses would be unable to reply. The report seeks clarification that oxilofrine “was indeed contained in the Epiphany D1 supplement” Powell ingested. Gordon tried to cross-examine the anti-doping expert, Christiane Ayotte, but she is currently working the Sochi Olympics, making her unavailable for cross-examination at this time. Gordon offered to have its own expert analyze and submit his findings, but no ruling was made as of yet.
US is deciding whether it is worth it to bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Potential places include Los Angeles (who has hosted twice – 1932, 1984), San Francisco. San Diego (is there a California preference here?), Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. While the bidding process does not begin until next year, the fear the US has is making a bid and losing (like they did in 2012 and 2016). New York and Chicago are conspicuously left out – those were the two cities that lost bids for 2012 and 2016. If the bid fails, they’ll look to 2026, where Denver and Salt Lake City are possible hosts.
There is a report that suggests Aleve is no more healthy for your heart when compared against other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Finally, Boston has announced its plans for a tribute event to mark the one year anniversary since the bombing at Boston in April of last year.