Dabo Swinney: Clemson to 'look at everything' to find how players tested positive for banned substance

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/264383/" data-ylk="slk:Dexter Lawrence">Dexter Lawrence</a> was one of three Clemson players who tested positive for ostarine before the Cotton Bowl. (Getty)
Dexter Lawrence was one of three Clemson players who tested positive for ostarine before the Cotton Bowl. (Getty)

Clemson has still not figured out how three players tested positive for a banned substance before the College Football Playoff.

The school is appealing the suspensions given to DL Dexter Lawrence, TE Braden Galloway and OL Zach Giella after the three tested positive for ostarine before the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl win against Notre Dame. The three players also missed Clemson’s National Championship Game blowout of Alabama.

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Coach Dabo Swinney told The Post and Courier on Saturday that Clemson lawyers are looking at “everything,” to figure out the cause of the positive tests. And that includes examining supplements that had been cleared by the school.

“Oh yeah, I mean, there’s a chance that it could come from anything,” Swinney said when asked if it’s possible the players ingested ostarine in a Clemson-issued supplement or were exposed to it in some other way at the school. “They’re going to test everything and look at everything. And that’s the problem. As you really look at this stuff, it could be a contaminant that came from anything, that was something that was cleared and not a problem, and all of a sudden, it becomes there was something.”

The NCAA has guidelines for athletes regarding the safety of supplements. Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator and considered a performance-enhancing drug. It is banned by the FDA. But the supplement industry is not tightly regulated by the FDA, leading to the possibility, however slight, that the players took a tainted supplement. 

Lawrence said before the Cotton Bowl that he was unsure why he tested positive.

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The Post and Courier reported in January that fewer than 20 of Clemson’s nearly 120-player roster were randomly drug tested before the College Football Playoff. So if Galloway, Giella, and Lawrence tested positive for a tainted supplement that had been approved by Clemson and was widely used among the team there could have been more players who would’ve tested positive had they been tested.

Lawrence has already declared for the NFL draft and is expected to be an early pick in the spring. He won’t benefit if Clemson’s appeal is successful. Galloway and Giella still have eligibility remaining, so they could be able to play at the beginning of the 2019 season if Clemson succeeds.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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