Duke Conference on Doping in Sport
January 16, 1999 Task Force Meeting
May 7-8, 1999 Plenary Session
There is growing and substantial evidence that individuals across the spectrum of athletic competition - including children, collegians, Olympic performers and traditional professionals - are using drugs to enhance their training potential and ultimately, their chance of achieving competitive and financial success. The recent, highly-publicized drug busts at the Tour de France, the suspensions of Olympians Michelle Smith de Bruin, Randy Barnes and Dennis Mitchell, Mark McGwire's use of androstenedione and reports that sales of that substance surged as a result of his achievements are but the prominent tip of the iceberg.
The issue of drug use by athletes thus transcends the relatively narrow interests of single organizations. For example, the IOC and its constituent organizations, including the USOC, primarily are concerned with defining what constitutes illegal drug use in Olympic competition, funding the programs necessary to implement their elite drug control programs, and the impact of their efforts on the image of the Olympic Movement and its fund-raising capabilities. On the other hand, the larger domestic and international society is concerned with the impact of drug use among elite athletes on its ability to protect the health, ethics and expectations of children, on the social significance and value of sport that is drug-ridden, and on assuring the protection of individual rights including the right to work, the right to due process of law, and the right to privacy.
The Duke University School of Law, in conjunction with its Center for Sports Law and Policy, will host a working conference in two parts, beginning on January 16, 1999, and reconvening on May 7-8, 1999, to address in an independent and comprehensive matter these broader societal concerns, and to provide an agenda for organizations that wish effectively to tackle the issue of drugs in sport. The conference will be include individuals spanning a spectrum of society, including persons and groups interested by the issue of drugs in sport. Specifically, Duke will invite both independent experts in the relevant fields of law, ethics, sociology, education, medicine, and athletics, and members of the affected sports organizations, including athletes and officials, and their corporate sponsors, to participate in a focused discussion of the problem of doping in sport. Special emphasis will be placed on (1) independence and the structure that independent governance of drug testing programs might take; (2) the science of doping and doping control; and (3) the legal concerns of accused athletes and governing organizations in maintaining effective doping control. In the course of the deliberations, current proposals for action pending before the United States and International Olympic Committees will be discussed. Although the conference will be by invitation only, the complete work of the participants will be open to the press, and all reports and papers presented or developed at the conference will be available to the public.