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Thursday, February 9, 2006
Duke toughens penalties for steroids violations

Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. -- Student athletes at Duke who test positive for steroids will have to sit out of competition for a year, while a second offense will result in lost eligibility, the school announced Thursday.

The changes come after allegations last spring of steroid use by former baseball players. Bill Hillier, who compiled a 121-214 record in six years, resigned as coach a month after two former Duke players told the university newspaper that they used steroids while playing for the school.

Those players and others have said Hillier suggested that they use steroids. Hillier has denied the allegations.

The new policy goes into place immediately. Evidence of blood doping or masking agents and refusal to take or attempts to manipulate a test are treated as positive tests, the school said.

The new rules also call for treatment and counseling for athletes who test positive for illegal drugs or any other substance banned by the NCAA. Athletes who flunk a second test for such drugs would be suspended for at least half of a season, while a third offense would result in a permanent ban from competition.

The previous policy did not distinguish between steroids and other drugs, said James E. Coleman Jr., a Duke law professor who headed the committee that recommended the changes.

The policy also allows for unannounced drug testing for players in all of Duke's 26 varsity programs.