The group that oversees high school athletics in New Jersey gave final approval yesterday to an unprecedented policy to test student athletes for steroids and other performance-enhancing substances, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. Some administrators, coaches, and students contend the policy, which takes effect this fall, will result in too few tests and that those tests will be administered too late in the season. “This policy has to evolve into something that will affect the greater proportion of all athletes,” Kittatinny schools superintendent Robert Walker said. “That is the only way to send the message to our student athletes that if they intend to compete, they need to have earned their strength the old-fashioned way.”
New Jersey is the first state in the nation to approve a test for performance-enhancing drugs, which can lead to long-term health problems for those using them. Under the plan, random testing for a broad range of performance-enhancing substances will apply only to those athletes bound for playoff competition. Some 10,000 students compete in state tournaments each year. Of those, about 5 percent, or 500 students, will be subject to the tests.