The Sweep

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The NCAA's drug test didn't faze this quarterback.
Courtesy of Dan Whalen

Dan Whalen, an SI summer intern, is the starting quarterback for Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He will blog about life in D-III every week.

Ever been drug tested? I mean the kind where you are have to report to the training room at 6:30 a.m., drop your pants to your ankles, and let the 55-year-old administrator watch while you aim for the cup.

I took part in the NCAA's pilot drug testing program this week. The program is a voluntary one, in which schools offer to have their own athletes tested on an anonymous basis. There is no penalty for a positive test, the NCAA just wants to determine whether they should give everyone a real, meaningful one every year. But, if I was to not show up for some reason -- say I wanted to sleep in until my 10:00 class -- then my school would have the option to suspend me for one academic year. The more likely consequence is that I would catch crap from the trainers for a month or two rather than be removed from competition.

They set the test up really nice for us as athletes, to the point it is almost comical ... I walked in, and there was a woman at a desk with a hand-held computer gizmo waiting to get all my information: social security number, name; I even had my own barcode for this "anonymous, non-consequential test." After that I sat in the "holding room" waiting for Bob, the 50-something who watches all the guys pee. I really wasn't nervous: 1) This was only a pilot test; and 2) I hadn't taken any banned substances. But when he came in and asked if I was ready, there was a split second of anxiety, even in knowing I was innocent.

Then I rounded the corner to go into the "testing area," which just happened to be our coaches' locker room at the football stadium. There was a line of five or six other athletes who just couldn't squeeze anything out for some reason. Who can't ... relieve himself ... first thing in the morning? I thought that was a universal thing. They leave a cooler of water and Gatorade for these people, though they say not to drink more than twenty ounces for fear that your urine may be too dilute.

I couldn't help but laugh when I entered the locker room to the sound of a running sink and shower. Bob then asked me to wash my hands without soap, probably assuming that I hid a tube of clean contraband urine in the soap dispenser. Then I lifted my shirt so he could see I had nothing stashed in my Go-Go Gadget waistband. Finally, he said, "Drop your pants to the floor and fill the cup no less than half way, all the way if you can." No problem, Bob, I had enough iced tea last night for the both of us, and held it all night long just to avoid any unnecessary glitches during your test.

The woman who took the container after I was finished was a brave one. She refused to wear gloves while she checked my personal pH balance, and divided my sample into three separate containers. I could tell she was a veteran when she didn't spill even a drop. Then she asked me to sign the form stating that I took the test and that it was completely honest.

For some reason, she wasn't amused when I told her Bob actually peed for me. Ah, who can blame her? Maybe she's not a morning person.

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