The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference this fall could become the first major Baltimore-Washington private or public high school governing body to specifically ban steroid use.
The WCAC, composed of 12 schools from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, discussed steroids among its principals and athletic directors in an April 13 meeting. It will do so again during a principals meeting in June and a principals and athletic directors meeting in September before "coming up with a statement" prohibiting steroid use, league commissioner Bob Hardage said yesterday.
WCAC rules prohibit "the use or sale of herbal substances, creatine or other non-FDA-approved substances in our schools, but the steroid thing hadn't been approached until recently," Hardage said.
"There's been so much emphasis on it with Major League Baseball and the NFL that we wanted to really take a good, hard look at it and come up with a statement to incorporate into our guidelines. I don't know that we'll ever go to a [steroid] testing program, but there needs to be an educational process. We'll definitely take a stand against any use of [steroids]."
Hardage said league officials will act after examining NCAA rules governing banned substances.
Steroids are not addressed in the general rules of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, the Interstate Athletic Conference or the DC Interscholastic Athletic Association, although some individual schools have their own rules.
The MPSSAA governs Maryland public schools. The MIAA oversees boys sports in Baltimore's private schools, and IAAM regulates girls sports in Baltimore's private schools. The IAC is made up of six private schools in Maryland, Washington and Virginia. The DCIAA is composed of 13 public high schools in Washington.
Florida, Michigan, Texas and Minnesota have begun to explore the idea of steroid testing. St. Vincent Pallotti of the MIAA tests athletes for drugs, but not steroids.
"About two weeks ago, I sent an e-mail to all of my kids and their parents emphasizing that they just do not need steroids," said Gary Schnell, football coach and athletic director at St. Stephens/St. Agnes in Alexandria, Va. "There is no set policy in the IAC that specifically mentions steroids, but I think maybe it's a bigger issue than we thought it would be."