Independent WADA Laboratories
After an athlete provides a blood and/or urine sample to a USADA doping control or blood collection officer, his or her sample is sent to a WADA accredited laboratory. WADA laboratories, are compliant with the WADA International Standard for Laboratories, meeting the strictest standards globally. WADA laboratories receive samples, with no identifying connection to the athletes, removing any opportunity for bias in the reporting. The independent WADA laboratory results are given to the athlete, USADA, as well as uploaded to WADA’s Anti-Doping Management System (ADAMS).
Identification of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation
While an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) most often occurs as the result of the WADA laboratory reporting to USADA an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), or positive test, an ADRV can occur from any of the following.
The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample.
Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
Refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection after notification as authorized in applicable anti-doping rules or otherwise evading sample collection.
Violation of applicable requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing including failure to file required whereabouts information and missed tests which are declared based on rules which comply with the International Standard for Testing. Any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures within an eighteen-month period as determined by anti-doping organizations with jurisdiction over the athlete shall constitute an anti-doping rule violation.
Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control.
Possession of prohibited substances and prohibited methods.
Trafficking or attempted trafficking of any prohibited substance or prohibited method.
Administration or attempted administration to any athlete in-competition of any prohibited method or prohibited substance, or administration or attempted administration to any athlete out-of-competition of any prohibited method or any prohibited substance that is prohibited out-of-competition, or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up, or any other type of complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation or any attempted anti-doping rule violation.
In the case that a WADA laboratory reports an AAF for an athlete’s A sample, the B sample is tested to confirm the presence of the prohibited substance detected in the A sample. The athlete has the opportunity to be present when the B sample’s tamper-proof glass top is opened and the sample is tested. The athlete, the athlete’s sport national governing body, the USOC, and WADA are all informed of a positive A and B sample.
USADA Anti-Doping Review Board
In the case of an adverse analytical finding, confirmed by the B sample, or in all other instances where evidence of an anti-doping rule violation exists, evidence will be presented to USADA’s anti-doping review board to determine if the organization should charge the athlete with an anti-doping rule violation. The athlete has the opportunity to provide information to the anti-doping review board prior to its recommendation. The anti-doping review board consists of independent experts including, legal, scientific, or medical experts.
It’s important to understand that the Anti-Doping Review Board is not the independent arbitration panel that hears and decides contested cases (see below). The Anti-Doping Review Board only provides an additional check, reviewing the case information and providing a recommendation as to whether an athlete should be charged with an anti-doping rule violation.
Pending the Anti-Doping Review Board’s decision, USADA can charge an athlete with an anti-doping rule violation and enforce a sanction. At this time, the athlete can choose to accept the sanction or challenge the sanction at an arbitration hearing in front of independent judges from the American Arbitration Association (AAA). In some cases, an athlete may ignore USADA’s charges, in which case the sanction is imposed after a set period of time.
Independent Arbitration Hearing
An athlete charged with an anti-doping rule violation is entitled to an independent hearing in front of independent judges, not affiliated with USADA, from the American Arbitration Association. All evidence is subject to disclosure in accordance with the law and any witnesses testimony is given under oath, under penalty of perjury and subject to cross examination by the athlete’s legal team. The Independent panel provides a written decision to all parties which is then posted to USADA’s website.
The athlete, USADA, WADA, or the International Sport Federation (IF) can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). A decision delivered by CAS is final.