ncaa lawyers for student athlete college eligibility

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulates student-athletes from 1,098 colleges and universities and 102 different athletics conferences across the United States. Functioning as the general legislative and administrative authority for men's and women's intercollegiate athletics, it's charged with creating and enforcing rules of play for various sports as well as the eligibility criteria for student-athletes. When student-athletes encounter NCAA anti-doping rule violations that affect their ability to compete, the team at Global Sports Advocates has the expertise and experience necessary to reduce or eliminate the athlete’s potential sanction as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What Substances Are Banned Under NCAA Anti-Doping Rules?

The NCAA is not a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency Code. Instead, it conducts its own in-house anti-doping program, meaning some substances that are prohibited by WADA may not be banned by the NCAA and vice versa. The various classes of drugs that are banned by the NCAA are:

  • Stimulants
  • Anabolic agents
  • Alcohol and beta blockers (banned for rifle only)
  • Diuretics or masking agents
  • Narcotics
  • Cannabinoids
  • Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics
  • Hormone and metabolic modulators
  • Beta-2 agonists

The team at Global Sports Advocates has handled many cases where these banned substances have appeared in contaminated dietary supplements. At Global Sports Advocates, we encourage clients to only use products that feature the NSF Certified for Sport logo. This certifies that a product does not contain any of the 280 substances banned by major athletic organizations.

How Drug Testing Rules Affect Student Athletes

The responsibility of drug testing is shared by the NCAA and its member schools. The NCAA primarily uses urine samples for testing, but blood samples may also be collected in certain situations. The NCAA follows WADA's guidelines for sample collection, analysis, and reporting, including the use of B sample testing to verify the accuracy of a positive result.

NCAA rules require student-athletes to be tested for steroids, peptide hormones, and masking agents year-round, while testing for stimulants and recreational drugs is done during championships. However, member schools may also test for these substances as part of their own drug deterrence programs.

Student-athletes who test positive for cannabinoids are required to engage with their institution in an education and management plan for substance misuse as developed by the institution. If the student-athlete fails to follow the institution’s education and management program and they test positive a second time for cannabinoids, they will be ineligible for 25% of a season in all sports.

Collegiate athletes lose one full year of eligibility for the first failed drug test for a performance-enhancing drug and are withheld from competition for 365 days from the date of the test. An athlete who receives a second positive test loses all remaining eligibility.

Failing to show up for a test or refusing to provide a sample results in the same penalties as a failed test, as these are considered breach of protocol violations. Student-athletes should make every effort to submit to a test whenever they have been notified.

These suspensions can be reduced for particular reasons as described in the NCAA Drug Testing Program.

Steps to Take After a Positive Test Result

If you've been accused of an anti-doping violation, your eligibility and financial aid are at risk. Our sports law attorneys can provide guidance, evaluate your case, and help you navigate the legal processes involved.

The NCAA provides an appeal process that allows you to present your case as well as supporting evidence to an appeals committee to explain why you deserve a reduced period of ineligibility or not to be sanctioned at all.

In some cases, athletes may have the opportunity to work towards reinstatement of their eligibility by going through a compliance and reinstatement process. This typically involves meeting certain requirements and demonstrating a commitment to clean sport. For example, the athlete may need to show evidence of seeking help for substance abuse issues, participating in counseling or treatment, and maintaining sobriety as part of their reinstatement efforts.

Our NCAA Lawyers Help Student-Athletes Maintain Their Eligibility

If you're an athlete and are concerned about your NCAA eligibility, you need to speak with our experienced NCAA lawyers as soon as possible. Call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation.

Our firm is uniquely qualified to handle your student-athlete eligibility issues, as the members of our firm only practice sports law and have represented athletes from all levels of NCAA competition. We are dedicated advocates for athletes and work diligently to protect not only your athletic career but also your education. Don't hesitate. Contact our NCAA lawyers today for help with your college eligibility concerns.

Paul Greene
Recognized as one of the world’s leading sports lawyers and a well-known speaker and author.