United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
USADA is the National Anti-Doping Organization in the United States. It is responsible for drug testing of U.S. athletes, in- and out-of-competition, enforcement and adjudication of anti-doping rule violations, and anti-doping education in the U.S. USADA’s website is an invaluable resource for athletes. Several essential publications can be found at www.usada.org/publications-policies including the USADA Athlete Handbook.
USADA produces a “wallet card” that lists the prohibited substances and methods effective Jan. 1 of each year. The list is subject to change and it is an athlete’s responsibility to make sure to check the USADA or WADA websites or the most current information. This wallet card is a handy reference to use and carry if an athlete is considering taking a new medicine (prescribed or over-the-counter) or a new supplement. The wallet card is available at www.usada.org/publications-policies.
There are many ways to contact USADA is you are concerned about whether you can take a medication or supplement. The Drug Reference Phone Line is 1-800-233-0393 or 719-785-2020 if you are outside of the U.S. You may also email USADA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registered Testing Pool
USADA has the authority to test any athlete who is a member of USATF. In addition, USADA may test any athlete included by USATF in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (“USADA RTP”). You will be notified by USADA if you have been included on the USADA RTP. Inclusion in the USADA RTP requires you to comply with USADA rules for submission and updating of a Whereabouts Filing (see below). You must also successfully complete USADA’s online education module.
Despite the additional responsibilities it creates for you, inclusion in the USADA RTP is a sign that you are running on a national and/or international level.
The Whereabouts Rule requires that all athletes subject to the USADA RTP tell USADA where they are going to be on any given day in each quarter of the year. Information on Whereabouts Filings and other requirements can be found at www.usada.org/whereabouts/.
USADA uses a 2-Pool System. USADA will notify you of whether you are in the International Testing Pool (“ITP”) or the National Testing Pool (“NTP”). A helpful chart is available at www.usada.org/whereabouts-2011. The designation of an athlete as ITP or NTP affects whether or not that athlete is subject to the rules regarding availability for testing during a 60-minute time slot, “60 Minute Rule”, and “Missed Tests.” Only athletes in the ITP are subject to the 60 Minute Rule and Missed Tests.
If you have been identified and notified as being part of the USADA RTP, (regardless of whether you are ITP or NTP) you are responsible for keeping USADA up to date on your whereabouts. Upon notification of inclusion in the USADA RTP, you should immediately submit your Whereabouts Filing. Among other details, your Whereabouts Filing must include: 1) your competition schedule for the following quarter including locations and dates of all competitions; 2) places of residence during the quarter; and 3) names and locations of training facilities, work locations, and other regular activities. In addition, athletes in the ITP must provide a 60-mintue time slot each day between 6 am and 11 pm where they can be located for testing. The 60 Minute Rule is probably the most controversial aspect of the USADA protocol. While you must be available during your designated 60-minute time slot—USADA may notify you at ANY TIME during the 60 minutes—USADA is not obligated to test you during that 60 minute window. The essence of no advance notice drug testing is that USADA may test you out-of-competition at any time and at any place listed on your Whereabouts Filing.
Clarification of the 60 Minute rule is available at www.usada.org/uploads/testing/60-minute-clarification.pdf.
Whereabouts Filings must be made by the following dates (for the following quarters): December 31 (Quarter 1); March 31 (Quarter 2); June 30 (Quarter 3); September 30 (Quarter 4).
In addition, you must provide USADA with updates when information on your Whereabouts Filing has changed. This is extremely likely given that you provide information about competition and training schedules three months in advance. Updates can be made online, via email ( email@example.com), via text message, or through a variety of mobile applications for iPhone, Droids, or Blackberry available atwww.usada.org/m.
NOTE: When you retire from competition, you MUST submit to USADA, in writing, notice of your withdrawal from the USADA RTP. If you do not notify USADA and subsequently refuse a test, you will be subject to sanction.
Whereabouts “Filing Failures”
Failure to comply with USADA’s Whereabouts protocols can results in a Filing Failure. Such failures include: 1) failure to submit your completed Whereabouts Filing by the specified deadline; 2) failing to promptly update your Whereabouts Filing upon learning that information on the Whereabouts Filing has changed, will change, or is otherwise no longer accurate; or 3) providing insufficient information on your Whereabouts Filing or update. If USADA fails to locate you for testing due to inaccurate information on your Whereabouts Filing, this is a Filing Failure (note that this does not constitute a Missed Test, see below).
If you fail to submit your Whereabouts Filing or do not provide full information, USADA will send an initial notice of an apparent Filing Failure. You will have a chance to respond in writing before USADA will declare a Filing Failure.
If you receive an initial notice, you may want to consider consulting with your coach, agent, advisor, the USOC Athlete Ombudsman (see below), or a lawyer with experience in anti-doping matters before proceeding
You will receive a Missed Test if you are subject to the 60 Minute Rule (ITP athletes) and you are unavailable during the specified 60-minute time slot and location. If the Doping Control Officer (“DCO”) is unable to locate you, the DCO files an Unsuccessful Attempt Report. If USADA has reasonable basis to call your unavailability a Missed Test, you will be sent an initial notice of the apparent Missed Test. As with a Filing Failure, you may respond in writing before USADA may declare your unavailability a Missed Test.
If you receive an initial notice, you may want to consider consulting with your coach, agent, advisor, the USOC Athlete Ombudsman (see below), or a lawyer with experience in anti-doping matters before proceeding.
Whereabouts Related Anti-Doping Violations
If you receive any combination of THREE (3) Filing Failures and/or Missed Tests in an 18 month period, you will be deemed to have committed an anti-doping violation subject to sanction by WADA and USADA. It does not matter which organization declared the Filing Failure or the Missed Test. All Whereabouts Failures are shared among the IAAF, WADA, and USADA.
YOU HAVE RIGHTS. You cannot be disciplined without a hearing. You will need help in defense of an anti-doping violation. If you receive a third Whereabouts Failure, notify your coach, agent, advisor, the USOC Athlete Ombudsman, or a lawyer with experience in anti-doping matters before proceeding. Still, your best bet is to comply with ALL USADA protocols at all times.