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H.S. athletes would be randomly tested under bill

9/14/2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Some Florida high school athletes in
three sports would be subject to random testing for anabolic
steroids under a one-year pilot program passed Friday by the
Legislature.

One percent of students who compete in football, baseball and
weightlifting during the 2007-2008 school year would be tested
under the legislation, which would become effective July 1 if Gov.
Charlie Crist signs it.

Spokeswoman Erin Isaac said the governor would comment later
Friday on the measure.

The Florida High School Athletics Association would oversee the
tests of all of its 426 public and 224 private member schools. The
bill includes $100,000 to pay for the testing.

Any athlete who refuses to provide a urine sample would be
ineligible to remain on the team. Those who test positive would be
suspended from the team, but could be reinstated if they pass a
follow-up test later.

A message left at the FHSAA offices in Gainesville was not
immediately returned.

New Jersey became the first state to start a testing policy for
high school athletes last year. Its initial testing for
performance-enhancing drugs found no users among 150 random
samples, the state athletic association said.

Republican state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, a former college
infielder at Tulane, has pushed for the legislation in Florida for
several sessions.

"It's been a four-year endeavor, but I'm elated that both
chambers passed the bill unanimously," Llorente said Friday. "I'm
optimistic the governor will sign it."