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Major League Baseball and Players Association modify Joint Drug Agreement
04/11/2008 1:13 PM ET
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed on modifications to the Joint Drug Agreement that respond to the recommendations made by Senator George Mitchell in his December 2007 report. The modifications will become effective after ratification by the 30 Clubs and the players, and will be in place for the remaining term of the Joint Drug Agreement, through December 2011.

The major changes are as follows:

1. The Health Policy Advisory Committee (comprised of management and union officials) has been disbanded and HPAC's responsibilities for the administration of the Program on performance-enhancing substances have been delegated to the Independent Program Administrator (IPA), Dr. Bryan Smith. Dr. Smith has been appointed for an initial term of three years and his appointment can be renewed for successive four-year terms. During his tenure, Dr. Smith can be removed only if an independent arbitrator confirms that he has acted in a manner inconsistent with the Program or has engaged in other misconduct that affects his ability to function as the IPA.

2. The IPA will issue an annual report summarizing the number of tests administered, the number of positive tests resulting in discipline, the substances involved in the positives, the number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted by category of ailment and the number of non-analytical positives. The new agreement also requires that records of negative test results be maintained for two years and requires the IPA annually to audit test results and to review the performance of the collection company and the laboratory.

3. The program adds 600 tests per year (making the total number of tests 3600), an average of three per player per year. The Independent Program Administrator is authorized to conduct up to 375 off-season tests over his three-year initial term, which will, on average, more than double the amount of off-season testing.

4. The new agreement institutionalizes an annual review process during which the bargaining parties will meet with the IPA, the collection company and the laboratory to review the operation of the Program and consider appropriate changes to the Program. As demonstration of the parties' commitment to improving the Program, the new agreement expands the list of banned substances to include insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), gonadotropins, aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators and antiestrogens, including clomid.

5. The new agreement requires the Independent Program Administrator to develop, in consultation with the Commissioner's Office and the Players Association, an annual, mandatory educational program. Input will be received from the Strength and Conditioning Committee to ensure that the educational efforts emphasize legitimate training methods for professional athletes.

6. Major League players, including players named in the Mitchell report, will join MLB in participating in efforts designed to educate youth and their parents regarding the dangers of performance-enhancing substances and regarding appropriate and safe training methods.

7. The Players Association, on behalf of its members, will also contribute $200,000 to an antidrug charitable, educational or research organization.

8. In consideration of items 6 and 7, the Commissioner has determined that he will not exercise his authority under the Joint Drug Agreement against Players and former Players named in the Mitchell Report.

9. In future investigations, allegations of player misconduct will not be disclosed publicly by the Commissioner's Office unless discipline is imposed. A description of the evidence and allegations against a player being investigated will be provided to him before any investigatory interview.

10. Starting in 2009, Major League Baseball will impose uniform certification requirements on fulltime strength and conditioning coaches employed by each Club. Starting in 2010, the Commissioner will issue guidelines designed to ensure that qualified strength and conditioning coaches are available to players at all levels of each organization.

Major League Baseball also announced that its testing program will be expanded to cover the top 200 prospects in the Amateur Draft. Clubs will be notified of players who test positive, but the players will remain draft eligible. Players who refuse to test will not be eligible for selection.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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