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June 3
, 2005

The NCAA Outdoor track and field championships are taking place next week in Sacramento, CA.  One of the premiere events of most track meets is normally the men's 100 meters.  On paper, that appears to be the case this year as two men including Mississippi State's Steve Mullings enter the meet with blistering fast 10.06 seed times. However, the fact that Steve Mullings is entered in the meet is quite simply a disgrace.

It's disgraceful because Mullings tested positive for testosterone (aka steroids) at last years Jamaica Olympic Trials where he won the 200 meters.  The Jamaicans did the right thing and left him off their Olympic team as all steroid abusers are subject to a 2-year ban from competition even though the bureaucratic process of officially convicting Mullings of a steroid offense would last for many months. Amazingly, Mississippi State did the wrong thing and offered Mullings an athletic scholarship to compete on their track and field team as Mullings had just completed two years of junior college when he tested positive.

It's unfathomable to us that Mississippi State, or any school that matter, would offer an athletic scholarship to someone accused of abusing performance enhancing drugs.  It would be akin to a school offering an academic scholarship to someone accused of cheating on the SAT exam.  Mullings has no business competing at the NCAA level.  Mullings didn't "earn" the scholarship - he stole it.

Mullings is eligible to compete at the NCAA level because for some reason the NCAA doesn't acknowledge drug tests conducted by the IAAF or any national governing body.  They only recognize their own tests which is ludicrous and makes zero sense. Can you imagine a school not expelling a student who was convicted of a serious crime only because it happened in the summer or because he or she wasn't arrested by the campus police?

Mississippi St. no longer has any valid reason to allow Steve Mullings to compete.  Up until last Friday, we imagine they would have claimed that they offered Mullings a scholarship and allowed him to compete at a time when he was only accused of steroid abuse and had not been officially convicted. We think this argument is ridiculous and again ask one to think about what would happen in the SAT analogy.  However, this excuse is hollow as on last Friday, Jamaica officially banned Mullings for 2 years (and we remind you that Jamaica did not let him compete in the Olympics last summer).

It's hard to know what Mississippi St. thinks about the issue as they aren't talking. We'd love to ask them what kind of message they are they trying to send to the youth of the Mississippi and America by allowing Steve Mullings to compete as a convicted drug cheat.  Unfortunately, our call to head coach Al Schmidt on Wednesday was not returned.  We also left a message with Athletic Director Larry Templeton, who was at some SEC meetings, but it wasn't returned either.  Thursday, things got even worse as Al Schmidt answered his phone but he promptly hung up on us when we said we were calling from LetsRun.com.  We immediately called back and he let the call go to voice mail and we left another message which hasn't been returned.  It's clear to us that certain players at Mississippi St. hope that no-one makes too big of an issue of this and it will be swept under the rug.  We are here to make sure that doesn't happen.

The point of colleges and universities is to educate but Mississippi St. unfortunately seems to have forgotten its main mission.  Their behavior up to this point is inexcusable but we urge them to do the right thing and pull Steve Mullings from the NCAA meet.

If you agree with us, you can help the cause by doing two things. 1) Sign our on-line petition. 2) Take the time to politely email or call official(s) at Mississippi St. and let them know you think they are currently making the wrong call.  

The contact info of the relevant players at Mississippi St. is as follows:

Athletic Director 
Larry Templeton

Head Track Coach
Al Schmidt

Dr. John Lee (Charles)

Sincerely yours,
Robert Johnson and Weldon Johnson

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