UI football players drug tested several times each year

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IOWA CITY — University of Iowa football players are subject to multiple drug tests by the university, Big Ten and NCAA each year, Iowa Associate Athletics Director Fred Mims said Wednesday.

Mims said the Big Ten and NCAA conducted drug tests in consecutive weeks this fall but doesn’t test every athlete the same day.

“It can be three, four, five times in a year,” Mims said. “If we have concerns or if something is brought to our attention, we can test even more frequently.”

Iowa senior wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was arrested Tuesday on six drug-related charges, including possessing marijuana and cocaine. According to police reports, Johnson-Koulianos provided a urine sample to police and tested positive for both illegal drugs.

While it’s clear Johnson-Koulianos participated in drug testing at Iowa, the results of those tests are confidential, both Mims and UI athletics department spokesman Steve Roe said.

Iowa tests randomly for eight different street drugs as well as steroids and making agents. A student-athlete automatically misses competitions with a failed Iowa drug test, Mims said. Johnson-Koulianos has missed just one game at Iowa — Sept. 19, 2009 against Arizona — and that was listed as a hamstring injury.

After a first positive test, the athlete also receives an inpatient or outpatient assessment of their drug use before he or she is allowed to compete again.

“Coaches could take a harsher stance, such as a dismissal,” Mims said.

Iowa’s testing, which costs about $70,000 annually, is broader than NCAA or Big Ten testing, Mims said. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics test athletes for eight different street drugs, multiple forms of steroids and masking agents.

The NCAA and Big Ten tests student-athletes strictly for performance-enhancing drugs. A positive NCAA or Big Ten test results in automatic ineligibility for the student-athlete for a period of time, depending on the substance.

In 2007, Iowa officials conducted drug tests on 940 student-athletes and less than 1 percent came back positive. One former coach, two certified trainers and 25 graduate students in medical fields conducted those tests. The week those numbers were reported, 27 male student-athletes were randomly tested, including 12 football players and four wrestlers.

“Iowa has one of the most aggressive testing programs in the Big Ten Conference,” University of Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a statement. “Throughout the course of a year, virtually every student-athlete is tested at least once ... some more than one time.”

Barta returned from New York City on Wednesday but declined interview requests. Roe said Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz will not discuss Johnson-Koulianos’ arrest beyond his initial statement released Tuesday. Ferentz said he was “highly disappointed” in the arrest and suspended Johnson-Koulianos.

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