Dexter Lawrence, Braden Galloway and Zach Giella did not take part in Clemson’s run through the College Football Playoff, because the three were found to have taken the NCAA-banned substance ostarine. Lawrence has since moved on to the NFL, but Galloway and Giella remain suspended for the entirety of the 2019 season.
That’s a big deal in and of itself, but it’s made even bigger by the fact that Clemson, at least publicly, has no idea how the trio came across ostarine, leaving open the possibility they could have mistakenly been given the substance by a Clemson employee. And if a Clemson staffer accidentally gave it to Lawrence, Galloway and Giella, well, can you imagine if those doses had actually gone to Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne instead of a backup tight end and a backup center?
The athletics department is conducting an internal investigation, but the school has announced it will not publicly reveal the findings, whatever they may be.
“That (NCAA) appeal was led by the student-athletes’ representative. Any investigation into the source of ostarine contamination is a part of that appeal and is, therefore, a student record subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,” a Clemson spokesperson told the Charleston Post & Courier.
However, while the FERPA does prevent Clemson from releasing private medical information relating specifically to Lawrence, Galloway and Giella, there’s nothing stopping the department from releasing non-player-specific, team-wide findings.
Clemson says it has administered 329 PED tests since 2014 and only three have come back negative; but, without any way to independently verify those numbers, there’s no way to know if the school is telling the truth.
“It is true that FERPA protects the education records of students,” South Carolina Press Association attorney Taylor M. Smith IV told the paper. “But it is also true that the use of any exemption in the S.C. Freedom of Information Act is not mandatory. In this case, it seems the players involved (and perhaps other players not mentioned) would provide consent to the school to release those records, protected under FERPA, so the public can be made aware of how these tests were failed.”