Performance Testing NBIN


#1

Do they do random performance enhancement testing at NBIN, like the do at the NJ MOC? Do other states do performance enhancement testing?

As a fan of the sport, I follow several of the athletes and their progression year over year and am always amazed when I see what seems like a true breakthrough performance or other. Just curious about how some of the others on this blog feel about this.

While I think it is an annoyance, that NJSIAA performs or endorses the testing, I am proud that they do as it keeps everyone honest and pretty much on the same playing field (or track).

Do they test, even randomly? Should they test? thoughts?? Also, do they do test at the Penn Relays?


#2

Testing for PEDs at the high school level by the NJSIAA and the state of N.J. is complete nonsense.

It spends a large amount of money to make people feel like something is being done to protect our children.

In reality, it does nothing.


#3

I hate asking but has anyone tested positive that you know of? Or is that limited information given the fact most of the tested subjects are minors?


#4

George,

Just for clarity, are you saying that you think it isn’t neccessary at the High School level to do testing for PEDs or is it that you think NJSIAA does a poor job at it (sort of saying there is widespread voter fraud when the facts do not support it). If it is the latter and the facts do not support it then that might be a way for the NJSIAA to manage costs.

Fundamentally though, I do think, if implemented correctly, it can be a deterrent to cheating as well as a safety tool, which is probably how the NJSIAA is looking at it (my guess but Don Danser can weigh in for the official purpose).

I take from your response, that you are stating that they do not test, fully or randomly, at the NBN (indoor or out) or other larger HS meets like Penn Relays. Is that a correct statement?

Do you know if there are any other checks or scrutiny performed when results of individuals are completely out of the norm for the individual’s trending performance?


#5

No high school state association (nor the NFHS) has any jurisdiction over NBNI or NBNO. Both meets are sanctioned by USATF. To the best of my knowledge there is no drug testing for high schoolers at any “major” high school meet and that includes the Penn Relays.

If you re-read George’s post he said nothing at all about any meet or state outside of New Jersey. His comment was limited to drug testing by the NJSIAA in the state of New Jersey.


#6

Thanks Joe and George! :slight_smile:


#7

I think that not only is it not necessary, but that it doesn’t do what it purports to do, and further, any positive (which, btw, aren’t released due to educational/medical privacy laws) is inherently suspect.

It is not implemented correctly, and furthermore, CANNOT be implemented correctly - due to the nature of high school drug use.

Due to the large number of non-users of PEDs at the high school level, any positive would be MORE LIKELY to be a false positive than a true positive.

Imagine the NJSIAA XC MOC. How many kids in that meet do you think are using PEDs? There are about 350 kids total running - more or less 175 boys, 175 girls.

Imagine a drug test that was 99% specific and 99% sensitive for picking up drug use. (This would FAR exceed the test characteristics any commercially available drug test, btw, and would be almost the ideal test.) That also means that 1% of the time it gets it wrong - i.e. a false positive.

If you think 0.5% of the kids in the XC MOC are using PEDs, then maybe 2 kids at the meet would be using them. I think that probably none are, but I can imagine a situation where a kid or two might be taking something.

To make the math easier, lets combine the last 3 MOC, giving us ~1000 athletes, maybe 5 kids or so who would be using PEDs. That means 995 kids don’t use drugs. Simple, right?

99% specificity means: .99 x 5 = 5 true positives!
99% sensitivty means: .01 x 995 = 10 false positives!

So you may get 15 positive results, only 5 of which are real…and you have no way to tell the difference. So in order to catch 5 kids, you’ve falsely accused 10! And 2/3 of the test are false positives and 1/3 being true. The odds are that if you actually test positive, it’s more likely to be false than true.

And that’s with a test with perfect characteristics!

So, it’s nonsense. It doesn’t do anything to differentiate cheaters from non-cheaters, because the number of kids who would be taking PEDs on the h.s. level is so incredibly small that any positive test would have to be viewed as a false positive.

The most damming part of this is that it actually has nothing to do with the characteristics of the test itself, but with the population being studied. When the number of kids using is so, so small, it will always be the case that there will be more false positives than true positives.

Whoever sold the NJSIAA this idea was very clever - they managed to convince them to spend money on something that is demonstrably phony. Consider it a tax that high schools sports are paying because administrators are bad at math and science.


#8

GTK, that’s a pretty good treatise on why it’s a bad policy, thanks.

Lotteries are an extremely poor investment as well and for many of the same reasons, but good luck trying to convince people of that.

Does anyone know the actual policy on testing? Does it depend on the results of a competition or a bigPR? I have never heard of anyone being tested and although I know the results have to be kept private, I think someone would have at least mentioned being tested at some point.

When I read the policy that my kids all brought home during their running days I always figured that track/XC got lumped in with all other NJSIAA sports and had to sign because they needed to have a policy in place for sports where you might be more likely to have this kind of thing. They couldn’t single out one or two sports and say that kids in those sports need to be eligible for random testing but no one else does.

I’d be curious to know what the OP is specifically referring to in this post. It’s an interesting first post on this forum and sounds kind of specific for a hypothetical question.


#9

I know they tested a bunch of kids at the outdoor MOCs in 2007 at Plainfield. I have never seen it since, which does not mean it didn’t happen. I do know that the 2007 tests were not done very well. Anyone could have fought successfully against a positive since it was lacking in many proper procedures. I had two tested that day, went in with one and it was very disorganized.


#10

They did it this year at the indoor MOCs … it was a mess.


#11

George - Thanks for the clarity and explanation! The examples were on point and cannot be argued. What you stated makes a ton of sense but raises the question as to why the NJSIAA continues the practice of testing.

As stated by Gould, there were kids tested indoors and it wasn’t done efficiently. If there isn’t any public outcry or sense of PEDs abuse within the track community (they could use a public forum to warn of the dangers of PEDs) then it doesn’t make any sense to waste money and continue the practice. I know it is a repetitive statement but stated again for disbelief.

This answers the purpose of my original question. As a fan of the sport and following several of the athletes for a number of years, I noticed some huge PRs during the NBIN (out of the ordinary trend for a few of the athletes) and was wondering three things: One if anyone notices that type of change in performance; Two - what could have caused it. Obviously, there are multiple variables that could have contributed to it (e.g. physical maturity, improved training, emotional maturity, etc…) Three - Are things done out of the norm checked out.

I believe athletes, for the most part are hardworking, honest, etc… I don’t always think the same for some of the coaches, knowing they have other motivating factors.


#12

George - Thanks for the clarity and explanation! The examples were on point and cannot be argued. What you stated makes a ton of sense but raises the question as to why the NJSIAA continues the practice of testing.

As stated by Gould, there were kids tested indoors and it wasn’t done efficiently. If there isn’t any public outcry or sense of PEDs abuse within the track community (they could use a public forum to warn of the dangers of PEDs) then it doesn’t make any sense to waste money and continue the practice. I know it is a repetitive statement but stated again for disbelief.

This answers the purpose of my original question. As a fan of the sport and following several of the athletes for a number of years, I noticed some huge PRs during the NBIN (out of the ordinary trend for a few of the athletes) and was wondering three things: One if anyone notices that type of change in performance; Two - what could have caused it. Obviously, there are multiple variables that could have contributed to it (e.g. physical maturity, improved training, emotional maturity, etc…) Three - Are things done out of the norm checked out.

I believe athletes, for the most part are hardworking, honest, etc… I don’t always think the same for some of the coaches, knowing they have other motivating factors.


#13

From what I understand, these tests are well over 99% accurate. More like 99.99% accurate, and as long as they do the standard two sample procedure its almost impossible to have a true false positive. It is also more likely to have a false negative than it is for a false positive.


#14

Your’e arguing with an MD who has more than a passing knowledge about these things. Are you sure you want to go there?


#15

I’d never disagree with GTK on the MD stuff and certainly don’t here.

I do want to add a legal point. They continue to test at SMOC outdoors and I presume indoors. I always get a big chuckle out of announcements for athletes to report for drug testing. So much for anonymity!

Even if the tests were 99.99% accurate I think testing for performance enhancing drugs without baseline testing is not very helpful and I don’t think the protections afforded minors under HIPPA should be violated. There may be a minor problem (football, wrestling, among others) but until it becomes more evident – I don’t think the posiitives in doing it come anywhere near the negatives.

I believe the NJSIAA bought into this as a good PR move (BLA BLA BLA our athletes are clean BLA BLA BLA) but I agree with Georgie that it6s essentially useless and frankly no one’s buying the PR boost.


#16

Would you expect an astrophysicist to know about quantum physics? Or would you expect a mechanic to know about body work? If I’m wrong then so be it but just because he’s an MD doesn’t mean he knows everything about drug testing and I bet he’d agree with me on that front. Everything I said in my post is information that I have read on this site or in articles about drug testing in sports related to false positives and false negatives.


#17

I didn’t say he knew everything, did I? But as an MD and someone who knows the sport, he certainly knows a lot more than someone who has read some articles.

But of course if you read it on this site or anywhere on the internet it must be true.


#18

Joe, I never attacked anyone or straight up told him that I thought he was wrong. Its OK to question people, its supposed to be a forum for discussion. That usually means that people won’t agree. I just posted what I’ve heard (who’s to say that he has better sources than I do?). I’m really not understanding the hostility, and if I’m reading too much into your posts then I apologize for this small rant.


#19

No hostility meant. I just think its ridiculous when someone who reads a couple articles thinks they know about more about the subject than a medical professional.

And no you didn’t tell him he was wrong; he said that the testing was unreliable and you said it was. But you didn’t say he was wrong.


#20

I apologize for misreading hostility that wasn’t there. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that I think he or she is wrong, it means that I haven’t seen enough evidence to believe that side of the argument. I’ve seen more convincing evidence pointing to what I posted than I’ve seen pointing to the opposite, but I would love to be proven wrong.