June 1, 2012
USADA announced today that an independent American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitrator has issued a decision upholding the two-year sanction of Mark Jelks of Kansas City, Kan., an athlete in the sport of Track & Field, for committing an anti-doping rule violation.
Jelks, 28, a member of the USADA Registered Testing Pool, which consists of a select group of athletes subject to certain whereabouts requirements in order to be located for USADA Out-of-Competition testing, failed to comply with the whereabouts requirements and, as a result, accrued three Whereabouts Failures within an 18-month p
eriod. Under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”), the combination of three Whereabouts Failures within an 18-month period constitutes an anti-doping rules violation. A Whereabouts Failure includes failure to provide required quarterly whereabouts filings (Filing Failure) and failure to be available for testing during a 60-minute window designated by the athlete (Missed Test). Jelks accrued two Filing Failures and one Missed Test within 18 months.
In 2010, Jelks was sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility after he failed to respond to numerous communications from USADA concerning his anti-doping rules violation. In December of 2011 Jelks contacted USADA and requested a reduction in his period of ineligibility. USADA declined to unilaterally reduce Jelks’ period of ineligibility; however, due to the unique circumstances of his case, USADA agreed to have the matter heard by an AAA arbitrator. The hearing commenced on April 18, 2012 and was declared closed on April 30, 2012. On May 25, 2012 the arbitrator issued a decision denying Jelks’ request for a reduction in his period of ineligibility. As a result, Jelks’ two-year period of ineligibility will be completed on August 22, 2012.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.