An investigation is underway after three Clemson football players failed a drug test just ahead of the upcoming Cotton Bowl.
Starter defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella failed the test, coach Dabo Swinney said.
Clemson's athletic department was notified by the NCAA that the three players failed the drug test last Thursday after traces of a steroid called ostarine were found in their urine.
Swinney said the players have no idea why they tested positive for the banned substance.
“This particular substance can come from anything, and these three particular players have no clue,” Swinney said. “In fact, they thought it was a joke when I called them.”
The Post and Courier is reporting that the three players in questions have been asked to compile a list of every product they use or ingest regularly, from supplements to lotions, creams and medicines.
The Clemson nutritional staff is also looking into every supplement given to players, while the Applied Science Lab staff is looking at the float tank players use that contains 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt, according to the Post and Courier.
It is not the first time an athlete has said they unknowingly ingested ostarine.
In 2017, pro triathlete Lauren Barnett was sanctioned after testing positive for ostarine in a random test. According to the Dallas News, subsequent testing found salt tablets Barnett used were contaminated and she had taken the substance without knowing it. The World Triathlon Corporation agreed to significantly reduce her sanction to the minimum timeframe allowed. Barnett later filed suit against the supplement manufacturer.
Head coach Dabo Swinney announced Monday in a news conference that three Clemson football players failed a drug test ahead of the Cotton Bowl.
Starter defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella were the players coach Dabo Swinney said failed the test.
Swinney said the players will be tested again before a possible suspension. The second test results are expected Wednesday or Thursday.
“In this case I think it’s very important that the message is accurate and that the truth is told because these are three great young men,” Swinney said.
Because the team’s next competition is imminent, if the players fail the second drug test and Clemson immediately files an appeal, according to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, NCAA officials could review that appeal within 48 hours.
Clemson and Notre Dame play the Cotton Bowl on Saturday in Dallas for a spot in the national championship game.