Steroids in College Football

Submitted by meddler on December 20th, 2012 at 1:17 PM

AP article posted on ESPN:

The author implies that steroid use is common across the sport despite practically no positive test results.

I don't know what to make of it. I'd be disappointed to find that some of my favorite players were/are steroid users.



December 20th, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

Well, are we seeing any of these symptoms in any of our players? (taken directly from Wikipedia, which we know is always correct):


Side Effects in Men

  • acne
  • impaired liver function
  • impotency
  • breast formation (gynecomastia)
  • increase in estrogen
  • erectile dysfunction
  • increased sex drive
  • male pattern baldness

Sac Fly

December 20th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

Not bringing this up because I don't like Ohio, but look how many dominant lineman they bring through every year who can't accomplish anything in the pros. It's probably not a coincidence because they always have the same attributes going into the draft; no skill, no technique, freak athletic ability and monster strength.

Sac Fly

December 20th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^

They have had a few players like Gholston and Heyward get drafted 1st round and not make big impacts, but the guys I'm talking about are the undrafted guys.

Ohio has only had a few guys from the O-line drafted in the past decade, Mike Adams, Kirk Barton and Nick Mangold. NFL scouts know much more than you and I do, so it's interesting to think about why All-B1G guys like Mike Brewster and Justin Boren don't get drafted. Kirk Barton was All-American and couldn't make it out of training camp.

Space Coyote

December 20th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

And was also all-B1G based on name recognition. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a bad player, but especially when talking about offensive line (where the media really doesn't have any idea what they're looking for and there aren't stats), name recognition is the biggest part. And you can't point to the coaches all-B1G team too, because their assistant to the film study intern probably doesn't know a whole lot about it either.

Also, in regards to anyone playing the center position from college to pro, huge change there, and college success at that position doesn't necessarily equate to great success at the pro level (Molk may eventually be an example of this, great college center, may not have the body to be much more than an NFL backup, but we'll see).


December 20th, 2012 at 5:26 PM ^

that's not at all unusual (good college players not getting drafted high), and it's certainly not good evidence for the argument you're trying to make.  Heyward is a rookie and he's been playing.  Doesn't really seem like someone on roids anymore than any other player you could name.

Brewster is actually starting in the NFL, despite not being drafted.

 I guess I don't get what you're trying to say despite typical "I hate Ohio derp,derp, derp".

Ali G Bomaye

December 20th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

Steroids aren't only for big guys.  Looking at the list of recent OSU draftees, James Laurinaitis and Brian Hartline are the only ones who have exceeded their draft status, and they've had some notable guys who turned out to be massively overdrafted (Gholston, Malcolm Jenkins, Ginn Jr., Hawk, Whitner, Bobby Carpenter).  When most of your guys aren't as good in the NFL as everyone thought they were coming out of college, there sure seems to be smoke.


December 20th, 2012 at 5:37 PM ^

That's a really weak argument, and you're cherry picking players (some who have had pretty good careers).

What percentage of 1st rounders do you think underachieve?  2nd?  3rd?

Are those who underachieve, by definition, steroid users?

Does only the USC offense use steroids because their QBs and WRs always suck in the pros but they have decenf defensive players?  

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

December 20th, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

Shouldn't your avatar be of Meddle rather than Animals, "Meddler"?  Your name should be Dog, Pig or Sheep then, ya see man! 

Steriods, in football, cant be...  


December 20th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I read this earlier today and could only think this is the first of what is going to be a major story evolving in 2013. I hate to say it, but there is no way steroids aren't rampant in CFB. The incentive to succeed and gain access to that NFL $$ is just too great, and with weak testing protocols, there just has to be more use than it currently seems. I think we should all get ready for an MLB style crackdown in the next year or two.


December 20th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

I grew up a baseball fan in the steroid era and a lot of my favorite players (Manny Ramirez for one) later tested positive. Very tough to swallow. I hope that the same thing doesn't happen to the current generation of kids with their favorite college football players.


December 20th, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

1) I would be stunned if any major conference strength coach is ever fooled by a kid who's using.  They absolutely know and either choose or are counseled to ignore it.


2) I'll get negged for this, but those who ignore steriod use are those who are most desperate (to win).  The current regime in E. Lansing turns those "under the radar" recruits into All B1G performers pretty regularly.


December 20th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I don't necessarily agree. All first and second-class schools have plenty of borderline NFL talent: they'll be a fifth or sixth round draft pick, but want to keep the dream alive. Or something like that. I can see them taking a risk like this knowing that the payoff could be huge.

While we all love Michigan, I think that if we say "it's so much worse everywhere else", we need to take off the maize spectacles.


Space Coyote

December 20th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

Into the fact that MSU's strength program is really that much weaker than Michigan's. I like Michigan's strength program, but the stuff they're doing is probably not any better than what CMU is doing. There is only so much a strength program can do, so that excuse doesn't hold any water to me. Now if you said the different between the strength program at Michigan Tech compared to Michigan, alright, but a B1G school compared to another, I don't buy it.

I think what someone else said is more accurate, and it affects the really good programs and the average ones about equally (and possibly all D-I schools). It's the borderline kids that are most likely to use it. The ones that want to get drafted and that's the difference between not getting drafted and being a sixth round pick. Great programs have many of these players after the great talent, average programs have their best players in this group, as do some of the bad programs that have a few good players here or there but not enough to field a great team. So I would say it's probably about equal across the college game, and I think it's probably a real issue. The policing on this sort of thing and drugs (which makes it embarassing when the NCAA testing actually catches people) is borderline criminal with how knowledgable the student-athletes are about when the testing will occur.


December 20th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

That is a very sparty thing to say.  While I believe there is heavy steroid use in CFB, I don't see any indication that MSU is more likely to be abusing than most other programs.  They perform at a pretty regular level given their recruiting, outside of a couple years where they got a bunch of players that probably would have been at michigan if it weren't for RR's poor in state reputation.

I personally think the SEC has the heaviest steroid use because that conference seems to have the biggest "win at all costs" mentality.  That is pure conjecture though, I really have no idea.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

December 20th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

I just wonder about the testing programs, and if there are different PED's that are not or cannot be tested for right now in NCAA.  Would a U look the other way to save money on labs, etc.? 


December 20th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

I have friends that played at CMU, Michigan, Grand Valley, Saginaw Valley, App State, Colorado State and Arizona State. All if them have told me that weed and steroids are part of the deal.


December 20th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I can attest to how true this is. D-2 players aren't as exposed to steroids as D-1. I personally know guys who played at 4 different Big Ten schools that were using steroids. I am from Michigan and graduated from hs in 2004 if that helps narrow down 2 of those schools for you...

these wolverines

December 20th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

My buddy played at Cinci and he got on it there his freshman year. He told me how easy it was to take in the offseason and it would be out your system when camp started, plus they knew when testing was happening. He showed me a few pictures of guys in the NFL now and how they were his freshman year and its crazy. He said he would bet 9/10 LBs, Oline, Dline are on it or use to be on it in the NFL. JJ Watt for instance gained 65 pounds in college not saying he didnt work his butt off but he was a walk on to a high draft pick and now one the best dlineman in the league. Come on man please dont tell me juice didnt help this man. He said alot of guys do it in high school to get a frame then college weight programs and a little sauce in college gets them to the NFL. However you have to have the skill to its not just all about that.


December 20th, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

I played high school football (Class A, in metro Detroit) in the early 1980's.  Our team was ranked in the top 5 in the state my junior season and we had no linemen over 200 lb. 

Now kids in the 260-300 range are all over the place.  Better diet and training play a big part , but I seriously wonder if steroids are another big factor


December 20th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

Steroid use is very tough to prove. I lived with 3 FB players in college and at 6ft2 215 lbs (and an athlete myself) I was unquestionably the smallest guy in the house. My biggest roommate did not hold many offers coming out of high school but is now a starter in the NFL and I do not believe he ever touched steroids. I think that all of his growth was natural. OTOH one of our other classmates was caught with steroids at The Combine and claimed that he only used them once, before the combine, to rehab an injury. Though I heard through the locker room that he had been using since high school. Despite living in the dorm with this second kid, I never had an idea that his growth was steroid induced. These two guys experienced similar growth in college and one probably used and the other most likely didn't. My roommate did tell me that his best guess is that 8-9 guys per team probably have used or will use steroids at some point in their training. He, and other FB players I talked to felt like the public thinks many more people use than actually do. I do not know if those numbers are different now. Of course there was one guy on the team that everyone knew was using steroids (I actually saw his steroids if I needed any proof) but he flamed out spectacularly, transferred, and was never heard from again.

As for drug testing, I was tested every year, usually multiple times. I would guess that I was given over a dozen tests in 5 years at various different times of year. Sometimes they would call you in the morning and tell you to come to the training room within the hour for a test and other times they would grab you at practice or in the weight room and tell you it was immediately after. I never saw it coming and the test varied if it was urine or hair. I know some guys would drink a bottle of water and have to sit with the trainers for a couple hours until they were able to urinate. The trainers did not let them out of their sight. You would be watched in person while urinating and they would take the sample from you before you could even go to the sink and wash your hands. These were often done by an independent 3rd party company. My school is in the BIG but I do think that we had self-imposed tougher testing standards than the rest of the conference because we were facing a lawsuit at the time over banned supplements used a few years earlier. I have no idea how any of these 8-9 guys who were allegedly using avoided failing these tests.


December 20th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

There is a steroids problem in high school sports (not just football) so I only imagine by the time you get to major D1 and then professional level, the usage rate is in the 80% or higher range.

I might be naive but I sort of assumed that anyone who watches major sports expects nearly every athlete to be using some form of steroids / growth hormone to compete at the level society desires.

If steroid use was rampant in baseball, a sport where the performance increase isn't going to be as extreme as football, then how can you honestly watch the NFL and not expect the same?

Maybe most folks are just operating under willful ignorance?


December 20th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

When you consider that the average middle linebacker is larger than the average offensive lineman a generation ago, yeah, this isn't shocking.