March 28, 2014 – Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced significant changes to the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
First time offenders will receive an 80-game unpaid suspension and a second offense will result in a 162-game suspension and the loss of a full season of pay. A third positive test will result in a permanent suspension from baseball. Under the previous agreement, first time offenders were suspended for 50 games and the second offense received a 100-game suspension. The new agreement added an ‘Alex Rodriguez Clause’ so a player suspended for a full season (183 days) will not receive any percentage of their salary. Players suspended for a failed test will be ineligible to participate in the postseason and will not be eligible for his team’s postseason share.
The release from Major League Baseball and the MLBPA included some of the significant elements of the revised joint drug program.
- The number of in-season random urine collections will more than double beginning in the 2014 season (from 1,400 to 3,200), which are in addition to the mandatory urine collections that every player is subjected to both during Spring Training and the Championship Season. This represents the largest increase in testing frequency in the Program’s history.
- Blood collections for hGH detection – which remains the most significant hGH blood testing program of its kind in American professional sports – will increase to 400 random collections per year, in addition to the 1,200 mandatory collections conducted during Spring Training.
- A first-time performance-enhancing substance violation of the Joint Drug Program will now result in an unpaid 80-game suspension, increased from 50 games. A player’s second violation will result in an unpaid 162-game suspension (and a loss of 183 days of pay), increased from 100 games. A third violation will result in a permanent suspension from Baseball.
- A Player who is suspended for a violation involving a performance-enhancing substance will be ineligible to participate in the Postseason, and will not be eligible for an automatic share of the Player’s Pool provided to players on Clubs who participate in the Postseason. (Such Players are already ineligible to participate in the All-Star Game.)
- Every Player whose suspension for a performance-enhancing substance is upheld will be subject to six additional unannounced urine collections, and three additional unannounced blood collections, during every subsequent year of his entire career.
- Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) will be randomly performed on at least one specimen from every player in addition to any IRMS test that the laboratory conducts as a result of the parties’ longitudinal profiling program (which was implemented prior to the 2013 season) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines for conducting IRMS.
- The parties established a program in which Players will have year-round access to supplements that will not cause a positive test result and which will improve home and visiting weight rooms.
- The parties provided the Arbitration Panel with the ability to reduce a Player’s discipline (subject to certain limitations) for the use of certain types of performance-enhancing substances if the Player proves at a hearing that the use was not intended to enhance performance;
- The parties added DHEA to the list of banned substances and enhanced the confidentiality provisions of the Program.