Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Drug testing makes Huskies football look good

            For once, a positive drug test might be viewed as a good thing.
            Today, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies announced Jordan Arkko, an offensive lineman on the football team, has been suspended for two years after failing a team-sanctioned drug test. From a test conducted on March 3, Arkko’s urine sample revealed the presence of GHRP-2, a non-specified peptide hormone.
            The ban is slated to end on April 25, 2016 and will exhaust Arkko’s eligibility in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
            When the Huskies football team held a spring camp in March, it was decided by team staff and school administration that all players would be tested for drugs to see if there was a drug problem on the team.
            The Huskies brought in the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to do the testing.
            Head coach Brian Towriss had stated in the local Saskatoon media that it was important for the team to be pro-active on this front.
            That testing produced Arkko’s positive result. The Edmonton product was named the Canada West rookie of the year for the 2011 season.
            “As signatories of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP), Huskie Athletics and the University of Saskatchewan is disappointed that a student-athlete has violated the CADP terms and their code of conduct with the University and the CIS by using a banned substance,” said Huskies athletic director Basil Hughton in a statement. “The University of Saskatchewan is unequivocally opposed to the use of any banned substance, performance enhancing drugs or any other illegal substance.
“We are dedicated to educating Huskie athletes on anti-doping regulations.”
            While it is obviously sad to discover Arkko tested positive for a banned substance, it also shows the testing the Huskies players were put under wasn’t a window dressing exercise.
            Towriss, his staff and the administrators at Huskie Athletics and the University of Saskatchewan should be credited for making the bold move to test all the players on the football team.
            The exercise does reinforce the message that the Huskies want to keep their program clean, and in this case specifically, the football program. You can be certain athletes for sure on the football team and other sports in the Huskies program will think twice about using banned substances.
            Unfortunately, the reality is no sports organization will realistically be able to catch everyone that uses banned substances.
            Publicly in this case, the Huskies have to come out looking good.
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