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Debate

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On March 21, 2007 an editorial was published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram titled "Big Problem On Campus". In this article the author opposes a proposition of policy regarding Senate Bill 8 and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst's push for mandatory random steroid testing throughout Texas high schools. This proposition of policy aims to expose the evidence of why mandatory random steroid testing may not actually be as needed as the Senate Bill claims it to be.

The author of this editorial does a very poor job of defining the key terms of the argument. He never actually defines "steroid" or tells exactly what substances the athletes would or wouldn't be tested for. Would the athletes be tested only for anabolic steroids or would they be tested for other products and supplements that can produce the same effects as steroids? Certified fitness trainer and national best selling author of 8 books on bodybuilding, Hugo Rivera, defines anabolic steroids as synthetic (man-made) hormones that stimulate the effects of the male hormone testosterone (Rivera). Using this definition, the athletes would be tested for only pure anabolic steroids. If the term steroid is described as only anabolic steroids then this would leave things open for athletes to use the other supplements on the market that produce steroid like results. These are the same supplements that are banned in all major professional sports leagues. Without defining this key term the author leaves this open to a very broad interpretation of exactly what the student athletes would be tested for.

Another important key term that the author fails to define is "students". He does not clarify which high school students would be tested. Would it just be athletes who are competing at the varsity level or would it be all athletes, freshman, junior varsity, and varsity level. Also, would this testing just be for school districts who are governed by the University Interscholastic League (U.I.L) or would this testing include private school and home school athletic teams? If an athlete was serious about using steroids and the testing only applied to U.I.L governed schools, what would stop the student from transferring to a private school or becoming home schooled and playing sports for a home school team while continuing to use illegal steroids? The article states that steroids are usually used to make the starting team and earn scholarships. The scholarship could be earned even if the athlete was not playing for a U.I.L based school. The author of this article needs to better define which schools in the state of Texas will be subject to this testing or if they all will.

The author of this article does give great amounts of data to support his claim that the money that would be spent on steroid testing is unnecessary. Judging the arguments test of evidence, the author gives a lot of statistics from U.I.L studies that prove that steroid testing at the high school level is not a widespread problem and the percentage of athletes that tested positive for steroids is very small. These statistics show that other problems facing the youth of today like alcohol and marijuana are a much bigger problem and spending the money to educate students about the harms of these would be more appropriate than educating them about the dangers of steroids. Spending millions of dollars on a problem that according to the article effects less than 2 percent of high school athletes does not seem very realistic.

The actual Bill that was presented to the Senate

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