There has been a good discussion in the previous post on how to be fair to the riders while not creating a situation as we have in other sports. We know other professional athletes are involved in Operation Puerto I and II. We see people attempting to break records while a serious cloud of suspicion hangs over his head (Barry Bonds). In both cases, we see little or no action from the sports governing bodies.
How about this thought to continue the thread. Raise the bar of performance on everyone involved. Here are some thoughts. Thanks to Daniel (a/k/a Rant) for planting the seed.
One note. I believe it is human nature to take the shortest, easiest, least problematic path. Therefore, I believe if you want a certain behavior, you need to make sure that other paths are seen as worse than the desired path.
1) Labs– Put into place enough rigor that creates a situation where the results are unassailable. My guess is start with the FDA. I believe they regulate diagnostic labs who are developing tests and diagnostic equipment. Before I can sell a new diagnostic test for cancer, I need to pass some rigorous criteria. Any new doping test should pass similar scrutiny. Now, the easy part of this missive is the lab performing the tests should actually follow standards and protocols currently in existence today. In fact, redundancy should be built into the system. Random duplicate tests should be performed by an alternate lab to act as a check. Mandatory blinded validation of positive ‘B’ test by an another lab. Once verified, an audit of the procedures, protocols and results are part of the packet sent to the doping authorities. Re-certification should be frequent and rigorous. Obviously no leaks.
Penalty for not following any of these? Case immediately dropped. No matter what. Lab also loses its accreditation for a period of time and then needs to be recertified before returning.
2) Authorities– Strict protocols of adjudication followed. Many of these exist today such as no public notification after ‘A’ sample tested. When a case becomes a case after ‘B’ sample test and all lab processes and protocols are validated then complete, and I mean complete transparency to the athlete. They have access to all evidence pertinent to the case. The athlete deserves this as it is his/her life and reputation on the line. Gag order up to and during the hearing. Obviously, no leaks.
Penalty? Case dropped no matter what.
3) Athlete – In exchange for the rigor, redundancy and checks and balances the penalty for guilt should be a lifetime ban.