Where are you right now? Where will you be in an hour? What about tomorrow?
If you have competed at the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, or Parapan levels in the United States, you have likely been subject to filing Whereabouts. Athletes at these levels must provide their daily locations, or Whereabouts, to sport and anti-doping organizations under the World Anti-Doping Code to ensure an effective no-notice out-of-competition testing program.
USADA maintains two testing pools that are subject to Whereabouts requirements: the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and the Clean Athlete Program (CAP). Having two pools helps ensure that USADA can maximize testing resources and minimize burden on athletes. Depending on which pool you are in, you will have different filing requirements with USADA.
So, what are the differences between the two pools? Let’s break it down.
Registered Testing Pool (RTP)
RTP athletes are required to submit comprehensive, accurate, and complete quarterly Whereabouts filings, as well as ongoing updates, so that USADA can locate them for testing. If you are in the RTP, you should have received an email from USADA notifying you of your inclusion in the pool and the requirements.
To ensure compliance with Whereabouts requirements, RTP athletes must:
- File accurate and complete Whereabouts each quarter by the deadline
- Complete Whereabouts filings include: daily overnight residence, training locations and times, competitions, other regularly-scheduled activities, such as school and/or work locations, AND a daily 60-minute window (between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.) that the athlete chooses.
- Filings are due on the 15th prior to each quarter:
- December 15 for the first quarter (beginning January 1)
- March 15 for the second quarter (beginning April 1)
- June 15 for the third quarter (beginning July 1)
- September 15 for the fourth quarter (beginning October 1)
- Update their Whereabouts as soon as their plans change.
- If an RTP athlete’s schedule changes during the quarter, they must submit an update as soon as possible. For example, if an athlete will be in a location different from what they provided on their quarterly Whereabouts filing because of travel prior to a competition, they must submit an update.
Athletes in the RTP are also subject to Whereabouts Failures, which include Filing Failures and Missed Tests. Three Whereabouts Failures in a 12-month period can lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and a period of ineligibility of up to two years for a first violation. Learn more about Whereabouts Failures here.
Clean Athlete Program (CAP)
Athletes who have been identified and notified that they are part of the Clean Athlete Program (CAP) will be subject to limited Whereabouts requirements as part of USADA’s strategic testing plan, which is designed to make Whereabouts requirements for athletes proportional to testing.
Unlike the RTP, athletes in the CAP need only submit Whereabouts summaries twice per year that include: a primary overnight residence, training location(s) and typical times of training, and details regarding upcoming competitions. CAP athletes do NOT have to include a 60-minute window in their filings. Those filings are due:
- December 15 for the first and second quarters (beginning January 1)
- June 15 for the third and fourth quarters (beginning July 1)
Athletes in the CAP must also ensure that their basic summary information is accurate at all times, so if their phone number changes, for example, they must notify USADA. While CAP athletes are not subject to Whereabouts Failures, if a CAP athlete misses a test due to inaccurate information and fails to update the information, or misses the filing deadline, they will be transitioned to the RTP for no less than nine months.
Tips and Tricks
While the Whereabouts requirements vary between pools, compliance with the rules is critically important and there are consequences for failing to uphold those rules. Furthermore, it is always the athlete’s responsibility to update their Whereabouts information, even if updating has been delegated to someone else.
With that said, here are some basic tricks to help you along your way:
- Sign up for email and/or text reminders through your account settings in Athlete Express! We’ll be in touch about quarterly filing deadlines, but these daily or weekly notifications provide a quick snapshot of your current Whereabouts, so if anything changes, you will be reminded to update throughout the quarter.
- Heading out of town? Update USADA immediately! Even if you don’t know the complete address or exact details, update USADA with as much information as you have at the time, such as the city, state, and other available location information. As you get more information, share those details with USADA as soon as possible.
- Athletes often receive a Whereabouts Failure when they wait to update until they are at the airport, on the plane, or after they arrive at their destination. Update before you leave!
- Make sure to add travel days when updating your schedule and delete outdated locations.
- If an athlete moves or changes their primary residence or training facility, they need to update their Whereabouts filing as soon as possible. Be sure to add it to your calendar!
- Athletes need to provide an accurate overnight location for every day they are required to submit Whereabouts.
- Whereabouts Failures often occur when athletes are attempted at home, but the DCO learns the athlete was actually at a training facility, work, or out of town. Remember to provide all required Whereabouts information on your Whereabouts filing and in subsequent updates.
- RTP athletes are required to provide their regularly scheduled activities, so if your work, class, or training schedule changes, notify USADA as soon as possible.
- When updating information, make sure to delete any information that is no longer accurate.
- Remember, CAP athletes do NOT need to notify USADA of daily schedule changes and they do NOT need to file a 60-minute time slot.
- Other than filing a Whereabouts summary twice per year, CAP members will only be required to provide updates if their basic summary information becomes inaccurate. For example, if an athlete moves from their home location to college, they need to update the primary overnight residence on their Whereabouts summaries as soon as possible.
You can refer to USADA’s Clean Sport Handbook for more information or contact the USADA Athlete Express Team with questions at athleteexpress@USADA.org or by phone at (719) 785-2000 or toll-free at (866) 601-2632.