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NFL helps form new steroid testing lab

Thanks to the ongoing scandal involving BALCO and a number of Major League Baseball players, the use of steroids in professional sports is quite a hot-button issue right now. With that in mind the National Football League, in conjunction with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the University of Utah, has joined in the formation of a new drug-testing laboratory at the University of Utah.

According to a statement released by the league the new laboratory will "conduct state-of-the-art research into the use of and detection of prohibited steroids and other performance-enhancing substances."

"The elimination of dangerous performance-enhancing substances from sports requires intensive state-of-the-art research on an ongoing basis," NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. "New challenges are constantly being presented and must be aggressively addressed by all of us in professional and amateur sports. The establishment of this new laboratory in partnership with USADA is an important step in that process."

The new Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), will be set up as an independent testing laboratory located at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Initial funding for the lab will come from the NFL and USADA, as well as grants from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and the United States Olympic Committee.

"This partnership allows the outstanding faculty in the University of Utah's College of Pharmacy's Center for Human Toxicology (CHT) to focus and expand their efforts in research and development related to sports medicine testing," John Mauger, Ph.D, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, said. "The SMRTL laboratory will provide a venue for the growth of the CHT's core missions, education and research, while offering a vital service to the sports medicine industry."

Notes

In honor of Women's History Month the NFL has some interesting statistics about the role women play in the league's fan base and workforce. 43 percent of the league's fan base is women. 3.75 million women participate in fantasy football. And more women watch the Super Bowl (39.2 million) than the Academy Awards (27.1). … The NFL released the names of nine players who have been granted special eligibility for April's draft based on the federal court ruling in the Maurice Clarett case. Beyond Clarett and USC wide receiver Mike Williams, the list includes one junior college player, Ronnie McCrae of Pasadena City College, and high schoolers Joe Banks, John Belisle, Earl Fields, Joe Lee, Ethan Mitchell and Ken Petitt. … The Metro West Daily News reported over the weekend that the Patriots had Bills free agent running back Sammy Morris in town for a visit. The 6-0, 220-pound Morris battled injuries last season in Buffalo, playing in just nine games. He finished the year with 19 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown, while catching 14 passes for 100 yards. In four seasons in the NFL the Texas Tech alum has played in 53 games with nine starts, carrying the ball 134 times for 488 yards and catching 61 passes for 452 yards.

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