COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Days after drug charges were brought
against two football players, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said
Wednesday the athletic department is expanding its drug testing.
"When there's more testing (there are) more opportunities for a
guy to slip up," Tressel said at a news conference at the team's
practice facility. "But that's a good thing. Because in my mind,
the more highway patrolmen there are along the interstate, the more
you're going to watch your speed."
Several football players, however, maintained they don't believe
there is a pervasive problem with drug and alcohol abuse in the
program. They said part of the reason the team members have been
charged is they are under increased scrutiny because they are
football players in a football-crazed city.
All athletes are currently tested once a year for drugs and the
university will increase random tests and double the amount of
money spent on the program to $100,000, athletic officials said.
The tests also will be more comprehensive to detect more types of
drugs, including anabolic steroids.
"The frequency of testing and the investment is going to be
significantly much, much more," said Tressel, who told his team of
the new policy on Tuesday night. "The amount of counseling and
support service will be enhanced a great deal."
During a 60-minute roundtable with reporters, several senior
football players said they were embarrassed by the program's
sullied reputation due to disciplinary and legal problems.
In the span of eight days earlier this month, backup kicker
Jonathan Skeete was charged with marijuana trafficking and running
back Erik Haw was cited after a university police officer said he
saw him smoking a marijuana cigarette while standing outside a
dormitory. Last weekend, defensive lineman Tim Schafer was charged
with disorderly conduct after police said they twice had to break
up early morning fights between him and another man.
"Some of the things going on in the program, they can't go on
any longer," offensive lineman Rob Sims said.
Vince O'Brien, a trainer with the men's basketball program, is
heading up the new expanded drug and alcohol testing program at
"This was in the works," he said. "I don't want anybody to
think it's a knee-jerk reaction to anything that's happened in the
last two weeks. This is something that's ongoing."
Gene Smith did not speak at the news conference, but O'Brien
said Ohio State's new athletic director was the driving force
behind the new policy.