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Arbitrator Imposes Eight-Month Sanction on Track & Field Athlete Toccata Murphy for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

An empty track on a blue sky day.USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator – selected from the arbitrator pool jointly assembled and agreed upon by the Team USA Athletes’ Commission, the USOPC, and USADA – has rendered a decision in the case of track and field athlete Toccata Murphy, of Alexis, North Carolina. After an evidentiary hearing on June 2, 2023, where both Murphy and USADA were provided a full opportunity to present their cases and witnesses to the independent arbitrator, the arbitrator determined that Murphy will receive an eight-month sanction for using a prohibited substance.

Murphy, 53, declared the use of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) during an in-competition sample collection at the 2022 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships on July 29, 2022 for which USADA was contracted by event organizers to conduct testing and results management. DHEA is a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. DHEA is prohibited at all times.

The arbitrator determined that Murphy exhibited No Significant Fault or Negligence as defined by the Code and found that Murphy’s degree of fault was lessened due in part to her attempts to use DHEA to self-treat negative symptoms associated with documented chronic health conditions.

Murphy’s eight-month period of ineligibility began on December 9, 2022, the date her provisional suspension was imposed. Article 10.10 of the Code provides that all competitive results an athlete obtains from the date an anti-doping rule violation occurs through the date a provisional suspension is imposed shall be disqualified unless fairness requires otherwise. The arbitrator declined to disqualify any of Murphy’s competition results in part because Murphy’s sample did not test positive for any prohibited substances and Murphy forthrightly declared her use of DHEA during sample collection.

Cover image of Toccata Murphy's AAA arbitration decision.
Arbitration Decision

This decision, as well as other arbitral decisions, can be found here.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as 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 file and update athlete Whereabouts, 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, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, a clean sport handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by text at 87232 (“USADA”), by email at playclean@USADA.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.

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.

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