State Mandated Steroid Testing Still Not In Place - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/31/07

State Mandated Steroid Testing Still Not In Place

Hundreds of high school athletes are on football fields across the South Plains this Friday night. But none have been tested for steroids despite the fact Governor Perry signed a law back in June, mandating Texas public high school athletes be randomly tested for steroids. In addition, it could be the last game of the season before South Plains athletes ever take the test.

It's game time and this year that could mean more for athletes than just hours of practice.

"They're going to test 25 to 30,000 athletes across the State of Texas. So not every school will be chosen to be in that random list. So once they chose us, we'll just follow the procedures the University Interscholastic League puts out," Gray Gaines, LISD Athletic Director said.

Coronado High School varsity basketball player Chris O'Neal supports the new law. He says it will help ensure fair play on the court.

"If they're cheating and taking steroids being stronger than everybody else instead of working hard like everybody else then I'd have a problem with it," O'Neal said.

Legislation says it goes into effect this school year, but it's unclear when or if these athletes will be tested.

Representative Carl Isett tells NewsChannel 11, "There wasn't such an overwhelming number of incidents that we felt compelled to have an immediate effect in the law."

At this time the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of high school sports, is still going through drug testing company's bids, which Representative Isett says does not mean the UIL is moving slow.

"Not necessarily behind, but we do want to encourage them to move forward as quick as possible," added Isett.

And while teams now moving up and down the field and not being tested, some parents say it doesn't matter when it happens, just that it happens.

"This is all about protecting the kids. So I don't care if it starts now or we've got one game left. We have to do it," Coronado Football Player Parent Tim Snyder said.

The Houston lawmaker who wrote the bill says it could be October before the first Texas high school athlete is tested. Representative Isett tells NewsChannel 11 school districts will not pay for the testing. The Texas Education Agency will cover the cost.

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