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Publish date: Aug 12, 2011

DII to consider required testing for sickle cell trait

A Division II proposal to establish a testing program for sickle cell trait will be voted on at the 2012 NCAA Convention.

The proposal, recommended by the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, mirrors current Division I legislation. Division III will consider the same proposal during its Convention business session.

Specifically, the rule would require schools to offer a test for sickle cell trait before any student-athlete would be permitted to practice, compete, take part in out-of-season training or try out. The rule would apply to all initial and continuing student-athletes in the 2012-13 academic year.

The test will not be mandatory if the student-athlete can document results of a prior test (many states required the testing at birth as far back as the early 1990s) or if the prospect or student-athlete declines the test. In that case, the student-athlete would be required to sign a written liability release.

The presidents were advised that the cost of the test fluctuates locally, regionally and nationally. However, the NCAA is examining a service agreement for laboratory services that could result in lower costs than if institutions purchased the tests on their own.