Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2005


Since its formation in 2000, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has aggressively pursued athletes who are believed to have used performance-enhancing substances and has aggressively prosecuted those who ultimately test positive. To many, this is a long overdue response to the growing problem of doping in sports. But to others, USADA's actions, and the federal government's support of these efforts, has sparked enormous controversy. This article examines USADA and its relationship to the federal government to determine whether USADA's actions could be constrained by the Constitution. While it is clear that USADA has very close ties to the federal government, this article asserts that USADA is not a government entity, and in most cases is not engaged in state action. Accordingly, in the typical doping case, constitutional restrictions would not apply to USADA's conduct. In unique circumstances when the federal government does intervene, however, as it did in the months leading up to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, this article makes the claim that there is a strong argument that USADA's conduct amounts to state action.



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