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Penn Quakers Basketball: Five Players Suspended for Failed Drug Tests

Five Penn Quakers’ basketball players, Miles Cartwright, Henry Brooks, Darien Nelson-Henry, Steve Rennard, and Tony Hicks, were suspended for one game as the Quakers played Delaware on December 21 for violating team rules. Quakers coach Jerome Allen would not elaborate past that in the post-game press conference.

Cartwright is Penn’s second-leading scorer and continues to be missed dearly.

However, a source told the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn’s independently run newspaper, that the players were suspended after failing a random drug test. Neither Allen nor director of athletic communications, Mike Mahoney, commented on these reports of failed drug tests.

The question remains on whether the tests were administered by the NCAA or Penn. A failed drug test conducted by the NCAA would result in the loss of a full year of eligibility, starting from the time the test was taken. The NCAA, however, does not require the schools to drug test its players, nor does it require the schools to report the results of the drug tests to the NCAA.

A majority of Division I, including the University of Pennsylvania, schools have their own independent testing programs. Furthermore, NCAA bi-law 10.2 states that, “A member institution’s athletics department staff members or others employed by the intercollegiate athletics program who have knowledge of a student-athlete’s use at any time of a substance on the list of banned drugs, as set forth in Bylaw 31.2.3.1, shall follow institutional procedures dealing with drug abuse” (NCAA FINAL Compliance Manual, page 9). This means that the schools are required to implement their own policies and protocols for when they discover that a student athlete is using drugs.

The Penn Athletics Compliance Office’s 2012-13 Review of Rules and Regulations Governing Intercollegiate Athletics states that Penn will only solicit urine samples for drug tests if the University has cause or suspicion. The guide states that those discovered to have used drugs, banned or street “shall be declared ineligible for further participation and regular-season and postseason competition.”

Sources close to the team have said that they believe the university will lift the suspensions on the five players by Penn’s game against Wagner on Saturday. This game will be the first on-court action the five players have seen since the Quaker’s 68-55 loss to Villanova on December 8. This decision seems to support the belief that the tests and the subsequent suspensions were imposed by the University, and were not reported nor administered by the NCAA.

The Quakers (2-8) face Wagner on Saturday, December 28 and they hope to rebound from an 83-60 blowout at the hands of the Delaware Blue Hens. These suspensions will be an interesting subplot to Saturday’s game.

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Categories: CBB, Penn

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