Posted by scoozna
I consider myself fairly ignorant on this topic. It seems there's plenty of legitimate use of PEDs, so I'm thinking it comes down to a safety issue - or a perceived safety issue. My question would be, how do the ACs inform themselves as to the safety of these PEDs, and is it inadequate, inconclusive, outdated...something else?
Without getting too political, is it more of the typical government-regulation-is-always-insufficient scenario?
Most state athletic commission are state administrative agencies under the direction of the executive branch. The legislature creates a law which creates the commission and defines its role, which usually includes a combination of investigatory, rule-making, and adjudicatory powers for things relating to the athletics under its power.
The executive branch then appoints the committee members who, depending on the specific state, may more may not have to be approved by the legislature. Depending on the political culture of the state, these appointments may be based on the expertise of the nominees or they might be be pure political patronage jobs for supporters of whoever the governor is. Also, the committee might have a requirement that makes it so the commission is split between the parties, with the executive branches party getting the deciding "odd" vote. For example, if there was a republican governor and a 7 member AC, 4 of the members would be appointed by the governor and 3 would be chosen by the opposition. Finally, depending on the state, the AC members are then removable only for cause, which means that the executive has limited ability to remove them. One of the byproducts of this is that AC members usually are not effected by a change in political administration until a member's term ends.
So, with that background of what an AC is, when dealing with PEDs they use the powers described above (investigation, rule making, and adjudication) to learn more about PEDs. For example, a possible way for a AC to come up with a rule about PEDs is to hold investigations about where studies are done and have people testify at hearings about PEDs, then, based on what those hearings produce, they create rules dealing with the PEDs. The ACs inform themselves by hearing and reading medical testimony about PEDs. It is also important to note that they are making their findings in the context of the broader political climate.
Most state ACs have a general presumption against PEDs that can only be overcome by obtaining permission from the AC to use them. This is exactly what happened to Sonnen. He was busted using TRT. Most fighters in their 30's are using TRT. Sonnen had gotten permission to use TRT in the past. But he had not asked permission to use them before his fight with Silva.
I have no problem with how the system is applied. It's how we do in the modern regulatory state at the national, state, and local level. My biggest problem is with the dogmatic negativity towards PEDs in sports throughout society as a whole. PEDs can make injuries less severe, recovery swifter, weight-cutting safer, etc. What we should be doing is taking more of the purpose-based approach as we have seen with TRT, and less of a substance-based approach. But that is very unlikely to happen until public opinion changes. Think about where you live. Do you think a headline talking about how a committee appointed by the governor is allowing performance enhancing drugs would go over very well? No way. And that is what is limiting the ability of the commissions to create more forward-thinking PED policies.