Doping American university, professional sports must recognize anti-doping code, says WADA chief | WKZO | Everything Kalamazoo

By Steve Keating

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) believes the time is right for US colleges and professional sports to finally recognize the Anti-Doping Code and has proposed a roadmap to jump-start the effort, President Witold told. Banka to Reuters.

American college and professional sports have long been viewed as a black hole by anti-doping officials with spotty tests and penalties often shrouded in secrecy.

The US has signed the WADA Code, but as private companies, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League are not bound by the rules that sports federations must follow to allow American athletes to compete internationally.

While WADA would like to see all U.S. sports recognize the code, the anti-doping agency believes the NCAA, the governing body for college sports, should get on board.

Many American Olympians in sports, from track and field to gymnastics, come out of the college system and are already regularly tested.

Banka said the topic was discussed at a recent meeting with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), where the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) responded positively.

‘MORE PROBLEMATIC’

“Maybe the major leagues are more problematic, another animal, because they are private affairs, but the NCAA is a prime example of an institution that should be a co-signer,” Banka told Reuters during a visit to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. “We proposed a number of road maps for them.

“It was our initiative to encourage them and get started with the NCAA.

“It should be one of the main goals of USADA. It’s their responsibility, it’s their own backyard.”

The US and USADA have often been quick to condemn other countries and anti-doping authorities, such as WADA, for not being tough enough on drug fraud.

In 2020, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act was signed by then-US President Donald Trump, allowing the United States to prosecute individuals for doping schemes at international events involving US athletes, sponsors or broadcasters.

The global response to American criticism has been that the United States should get its own doping house in order, pointing to the lack of serious testing in North American professional sports.

“I think it’s time to think about collaboration and how we can encourage them (the NCAA and American professional sports) to be co-signers.” said Banka. “It should be the initiative of USADA and the USOPC and they should express a willingness to do it because we can’t force them to do it.

“I told them we are very open to working with you, but the ball is in their court now.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Birmingham; editing by Ken Ferris)

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