Sports Management Lecture series begins

Arielle Lipan

At the first part of the Sports Management Lecture Series last Friday, Travis Tygart and Marty Lyons warned against doping in the sports industry, citing negative effects on the players, the sports and the youth.

Lyons is a former All-American football player for the University, CEO for the Marty Lyon’s Foundation and a broadcaster with ESPN. Tygart is a lawyer and the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency.

“If you cheat to get there, it’s not a real victory, and it’s not a victory you should be proud of,” Tygart said.

Tygart said doping, even in therapeutic doses, can improve an athlete’s performance by 5 to 15 percent. He said the Tour de France is 21 days long, but the difference between the winner and the middleman is only 11 minutes, meaning 5 to 15 percent can make a difference like a donkey to a thoroughbred.

USADA views clean athletes as the victims in these situations and offers multiple resources to help prevent possible mistakes.

Companies can hire USADA on a private contract to regulate doping in their field, like the UFC recently did, and USADA has tools like Global DRO where an athlete can look up a certain drug they might have to take and see if it’s prohibited as a performance enhancer.

Athletes can mistakenly take performance enhancers since three-fourths of the supplements on the market tested by USADA test positive for performance enhancing ingredients.

“The supplement industry is woefully inadequate from a regulation standpoint,” Tygart said.

USADA has that covered too, with its website Supplements411.com where people can look up almost any supplement for its composition.

Tygart eventually turned a question on to the audience, “Why do we care if these athletes dope up? They’re entertainers. Why not let them do what they want?”

Tygart cited how collegiate baseball now uses metal bats instead of wooden ones, which is also an enhancement to the game.

“It’s not a real advancement,” said Jared Patterson, a sports management graduate student. “It’s not human performance.”

Patterson said it isn’t fair that players who have been on performance enhancers have broken records in their field.

“You’re not only robbing other players, you’re robbing the history of the sport,” he said.

Ross Mulkerrin, a junior majoring in economics, said people should worry about doping since it’ll lead to an arms race with each athlete doping more and more to gain the upper hand.

Tygart brought it all home and said it affects the children in the future who want to participate in sports, and the only way they can match the doped-up athletes before them is to dope themselves.

“I have yet to see any doctor, reputable or otherwise, say it’s OK to administer these dangerous drugs to young and developing bodies,” he said.

Lyons understands the pressure of trying to be the best while surrounded by temptation. Three weeks away from playing in the Super Bowl with the Jets, Lyons tore his hamstring.

“The team physician put a needle down in front of me and said, ‘If you wanna play, that’s your only option,’” he said.

Lyons took his last option, a numbing agent, which meant he could play, but now he has some trouble with his sciatic nerve. He also emphasized that numbing his torn hamstring didn’t enhance his playing, it allowed him to play in the first place.

Lyons and Tygart know the system isn’t entirely to blame.

“Those that want to cheat will always try and go above that level,” Tygart said.

Lyons thinks players should acknowledge their share in the problem.

“I’m not pointing at the NFL, and I’m not pointing at the [team] physicians,” Lyons said. “I take part of the responsibility because it was my livelihood.”