Allonzo Trier has been ruled ineligible once again after testing positive for a banned substance, and now the question is: how long will he be sidelined?
Well, Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller reportedly said Thursday on his postgame radio show that he hopes Trier’s status will be “resolved as soon as tomorrow” (meaning Friday).
Sean Miller's full quote from his postgame radio interview regarding the Allonzo Trier situation: “It’s devastating. We’ve been at this for a long, long time ... game 28. My hope is that it can be resolved as soon as tomorrow.”— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) February 23, 2018
A second failed PED test is supposed to sideline a player for an entire year of competition, but this is not an ordinary situation.
Trier has tested positive for Ostarine, the same substance that he tested positive for prior to the 2016-17 season that resulted in a 19-game suspension.
But the NCAA agreed last season that Trier did not knowingly take the substance, and so he was allowed to return to competition once the drug was flushed out of his system.
However, the drug reappeared when Trier was tested a few weeks ago, but it is not the result of a new ingestion, according to Trier’s attorney, Steve Thompson and his mother Marcie.
Here is what Thompson told Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports (bolding is mine):
“The NCAA’s intransigence on this issue is mind-boggling,” Thompson said. “Allonzo has never been a drug-cheat, and the NCAA found in 2016 that he never took Ostarine intentionally. The experts tell us Ostarine can be stored in fatty tissues for a long time, and tests can be negative but then later be positive as the substance comes out. The medical evidence also shows that the reappearance of a trace amount in his system now creates absolutely zero competitive advantage. We’ve asked the NCAA’s medical panel to review the case – as the rules provide – and the NCAA has refused. This is so frustrating and unnecessary, especially at this time of the season and Allonzo’s career.”
The trace amount, according to Marcie Trier, is said to be the equivalent of “six grains of sand in 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and has zero effect on his performance.”
Arizona called it “minuscule by scientific standards and appears to be a remnant of a substance, which the NCAA has agreed, Allonzo had unknowingly ingested in 2016.”
“For those who may assume Allonzo did something wrong — consider the fact that he knew he would always be tested for this drug going forward,” Marcie Trier said in a statement to ESPN. “This has NEVER given him any advantage and is of ZERO benefit. We have all the test results to back that up. My son does not need any advantage!”
If all of this is true, it is hard to see why Trier is being held out.
Arizona has appealed the NCAA’s decision, but the NCAA isn’t exactly consistent with its rulings, so it’s hard to say if the UA has a good chance of winning that appeal or not.
Plus, the postseason is right around the corner, so any reconsideration by the NCAA would have to happen swiftly or else Trier is at risk of missing the NCAA Tournament, which would undoubtedly be a huge blow to the Wildcats’ postseason aspirations.
In all, it is just an awful situation for Trier, who returned to Arizona looking to play a full season for the first time in his career.
Trier missed several games as a freshman because of a broken hand, then 19 more as a sophomore after unknowingly taking a banned substance.
Now his junior year, in which he has become one of the most efficient scorers in the country, could be cut short for what seems like a pretty trivial reason.
As Miller said, it’s devastating.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire