USATF to help track supplements

Updated: June 2, 2009, 2:40 PM ET
Associated Press

USA Track and Field entered a partnership Tuesday with a company that helps athletes find out if supplements they're thinking about taking are free of banned substances.

USATF chief executive Doug Logan announced the deal with the National Center for Drug Free Sport, saying it was a way for athletes "to navigate the confounding labyrinth that is the multi-zillion dollar industry of 'legal' supplements."

Earlier this year, Logan delivered a rebuke of supplement makers, saying they've been complicit in helping ruin a sport filled with doping scandals over the years.

He backed it up by announcing the deal with a company that also has agreements with the NCAA, Major League Baseball, the NFL and the PGA Tour.

A common excuse when an athlete tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs is to say they used a supplement that must have been tainted. The supplement industry has largely steered clear of federal regulations, and Logan, in his speech in January, said it was all because of a long-term, calculated lobbying effort in Washington.

In his blog Tuesday, Logan said the only way an athlete can really know if he's clean is by competing supplement-free.

"But if an athlete does use supplements or is considering using them, this new resource will help them make a more informed decision about the benefits and pitfalls of a given product," he wrote.

USATF members can log on to the Web site's Resource Exchange Center and get information about supplements they're thinking about taking.

Logan said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency already has a hotline for athletes in its testing pool to ask about banned substances. So while the agreement may not be a huge added benefit for Olympic-caliber athletes, the new program will enable any USATF member -- juniors, seniors, recreational athletes -- to use the Drug Free Sport service.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press