August 30, 2010
USADA announced today that Mark Jelks, of Merrillville, Indiana, an athlete in the sport of Track and Field, has committed an anti-doping rules violation and received a suspension for the offense.
Jelks, 26, 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 period. 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.
Prior to being enrolled in the USADA Registered Testing Pool, athletes, including Jelks, are required to complete the USADA Athlete’s Advantage online tutorial, which explains to athletes in detail their responsibilities as members of the Pool, including their obligations to comply with the whereabouts requirements. Consistent with the Code, Jelks received a two-year period of ineligibility, which began on August 23, 2010. As a result of the violation, Jelks has been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to April 18, 2010, the date of his last Whereabouts Failure, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
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.