Clemson University

Clemson AD details drug testing policy, school’s search for answers

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence speaks about failed drug test

Clemson football star faces a suspension for the Cotton Bowl
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Clemson football star faces a suspension for the Cotton Bowl

As Clemson’s football team is preparing for the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame, several staff members are back in Clemson searching for answers as to how three Tigers players failed drug tests leading up to the College Football Playoff.

Star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, backup tight end Braden Galloway and backup offensive lineman Zach Giella are suspended from the Cotton Bowl after the NCAA notified Clemson last week that the three tested positive for ostarine.

Clemson AD Dan Radakovich spoke with The State on Thursday about how many players were drug tested and what the process was like.

“I think this year there were 18 or 19 randomly selected. We send a roster over. They randomly select the people, come on campus, do the tests, and that’s about the extent of our involvement with it,” Radakovich said.

Clemson’s AD was notified last week that the three players had failed drug tests, and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney called the players to inform them of the news.

The school released a statement Thursday confirming the suspensions.

“This evening, Clemson Athletics received confirmation from the NCAA of suspensions for tight end Braden Galloway, offensive lineman Zach Giella and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, all three of whom will be unavailable for Saturday’s game against Notre Dame,” Radakovich said in the statement. “The athletic department will have no further comment on the matter this evening as it considers all of our options, including appeals.”

Lawrence said Thursday at Cotton Bowl Media Day that he was stunned when Swinney informed him that he had tested positive for ostarine.

“He tells me I tested positive for something I’ve never heard of or know where to get it,” Lawrence said. “I can say I’m not the type of guy to do a selfish act like that. I have too much pride. I love this team and my family too much to even think about putting a substance like that in my body. I don’t know where it came from, how it got there.

“I was raised different. If I did do it I’d own up to it, but all I can say is I honestly don’t know what happened or how it got in. It’s just there. There’s nothing I can really do about it.”

Lawrence, Swinney and the entire Clemson athletics department are searching for answers as to how the players ended up with ostarine in their systems.

Radakovich detailed the process Clemson is going through as it conducts an investigation.

“We’re just working through a lot of different variables right now,” he said. “It’s difficult because we check all of our supplements, make sure that they are legal and things. There’s really no way of telling exactly how... It would be easy if it was something that we did and we knew it was there. ‘OK now we understand it and we can stop.’ But up until this point that hasn’t been the case. There’s some folks on campus who are doing exactly that, going through and checking our supplements, going to the manufacturer and looking at all of that.”

Lawrence said he does not hang out with Galloway and Giella much and that the only thing the three have in common is their lockers are close to each other.

Lawrence and Galloway did both suffer foot injuries within the past couple of years. Lawrence said during fall camp that he played at “45 to 50 percent” in 2017 after having foot surgery prior to that season.

“I had got a nerve block during surgery, and it had irritated some of my nerves in my leg and my foot. It took a while to come back,” Lawrence said in August. “I never dealt with nothing that serious.”

Galloway had a screw inserted into his foot and missed some time during the spring due to the injury.

Lawrence was asked if it is possible there could be a connection between the two players coming back from a foot injury and testing positive for ostarine and responded: “They’re looking into that. I had my surgery in like 2017 and he had his lately. So I don’t know. We’re looking into everything possible.”

Radakovich was asked the same question and responded, “I couldn’t even venture to guess because it could be a lot of different things.”

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