Iowa admits to flaws in testing program

Updated: December 14, 2010, 8:47 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Iowa admitted to finding "flaws and inconsistencies" in its student-athlete drug-testing program in the wake of last week's drug-related arrest of wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, but the school isn't penalizing any more football players at this time.

Athletic director Gary Barta said Tuesday that the school reviewed its testing program after Johnson-Koulianos' arrest and found "pretty strong evidence" that student-athletes likely have found ways to get around the tests. Iowa conducted its regular testing last week and has found no specific instances of wrongdoing.

"We have not caught anybody getting around the system," Barta said. "Unfortunately, there's enough evidence in our protocol to say we have to tighten up. It's pretty likely that someone -- I don't know if it's one or 21 -- someone has gotten around this process.

"And if it's only one, it makes you doubt all testing."

The school announced Monday that Johnson-Koulianos has been suspended from team activities following his arrest on drug charges last week. Those charges include possession of controlled substances, keeping a drug house and unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

The Hawkeyes' offensive unit is decimated by other developments. Starting running back Adam Robinson has been suspended for unspecified reasons until January at the earliest, and running back Jewel Hampton will transfer.

Ferentz explained Tuesday that Hampton's departure was a "mutual decision."

Iowa, which will play Missouri in the Dec. 28 Insight Bowl, confirmed last week that another running back, Brandon Wegher, is transferring, as well.

"We don't anticipate any more announcements on our roster," coach Kirk Ferentz said. Ferentz added that Robinson is eligible and he expects the sophomore to rejoin the team in January.

Robinson emerged as Iowa's lead back in 2009 after Hampton tore the ACL in his right knee and missed the season. This year, Robinson led the Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) with 941 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns despite missing two starts due to concussions.

Ferentz said all 92 football players have been drug-tested this season, 27 by outside companies and 65 within the Iowa program. Players are tested randomly at least once a year by the school, in addition to Big Ten and NCAA testing.

Iowa spends roughly $70,000 a year on its own year-round drug-testing program, which isn't mandated by the NCAA.

Barta said the school's program, which began in 1988, is meant to educate and be a deterrent against drug use.

Ferentz emphasized that the program has been more diligent about drug testing this season than in any of his 12 seasons as head coach in part because of the high expectations placed on his team. Barta indicated that revamped protocols still could be on the way. Players who refuse to be tested are considered to be guilty of a positive test. Two positive tests means an automatic suspension for 10 percent of regular-season events or postseason events. A third positive test is grounds for dismissal from the program.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE