DALLAS — Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell says the athletic department is investigating every area of the football program in hopes of discovering why trace amounts of Ostarine was present in the drug tests of Dexter Lawrence, Braden Galloway and Zach Giella.
The NCAA has temporally suspended the three Tigers for Saturday’s Cotton Bowl as they wait for the results of the B sample (the second test) which are expected to be released by Thursday.
One of the items that could possibly be investigated is the Tigers’ sensory deprivation, or isolation tanks, a.k.a. float tank, located in its new sports science wing of the Allen Reeves Football Complex.
Float tanks are soundproof tanks filled with Epsom salt at skin temperature, in which individuals float. Invented in the mid 1950’s by neuroscientist Dr. John Lilly, float tanks are now used worldwide for a number of regenerative reasons.
While originally developed for mental health, float tanks have now been adopted by many professional athletes and organizations in order to help accelerate the recovery process.
“It maybe can be that, but nobody knows,” Ferrell said. “They are investigating everything.”
Ferrell said he has not been asked about anything in the investigation and he hopes he does not because he is focusing on the game.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence said the team was not made aware of the suspensions until they got to Dallas on Sunday night. He said it was a big shock to the team.
“They did tell us because Coach (Dabo Swinney) wanted to get all the details. It is not your normal failed drug test situation,” Lawrence said. “These guys really did not do anything wrong. They are still trying to figure that out.
“They still don’t know really how it is going to go, but it is tough. I know all of those guys personally. They would not do anything to jeopardize their status and everything and this team. It is tough. But we still have a game to play and hopefully, another one.”
In August of 2017, the USADA issued a warning to athletes that ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM), is not approved for human consumption but has been the cause of numerous positive doping tests involving sports supplements.
“It is one of the reasons why Dabo made the statement that he did,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “This is not a street drug. It can come from a number of different sources, hair products, protein, energy drinks, a lot of different things might have trace amounts of this that were indicated.”
According to the site called Natural Products Insider.com, the warning of ostarine is on the label and sometimes it is not. In its July 25, 2017 advisory, USADA reported a recent uptick in supplement contamination and supplement-related incidences involving ostarine.
“The thing is, from some of the stuff I have seen, you don’t even know if it is some stuff,” Trevor Lawrence said. “It definitely is hard, and I wish they would find out and tweak the rule if something like that comes up.
“I think it is pretty obvious that they were not trying to get an advantage, and this was not anything intentional, but anyways we have to move on and get ready for this game.”
Lawrence says the players are educated about what they can and cannot put in their bodies and what supplements the NCAA bands. The nutritionist at Clemson encourage them not to take anything outside of their building. They make sure they have everything approved by the NCAA and have the right stuff for them to take.
“They will explain whatever you ask them,” he said. “All of the guys trust them. Obviously, some guys don’t ask. They just take whatever. But if you want to know they will tell you everything. They will tell you what it is for and will let us know.”