A pair of Clemson players will miss the 2019 season after their appeal over failed drug tests was denied by the NCAA. Tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella were ruled ineligible for previously testing positive for trace amounts of ostarine in December. The pair, along with Tigers star defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, failed two NCAA-administered tests prior to the College Football Playoff semifinal against Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl.
Ostarine is a performance-enhancing substance used for muscle-building and is currently on the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list. It is also a contaminant in legal products. Both Clemson and the athletes have maintained they did not knowingly ingest the drug.
"The Athletic Department takes seriously its role in the education, testing and enforcement of supplement and performance-enhancing substances," said an emailed statement from the university. "We will continue to adhere to best practices with respect to supplement use by student-athletes and support the position of the NCAA in its testing for PEDs.
"Student-athletes at Clemson have taken 329 tests for PEDs since 2014, and all results have been negative except for the trace amounts found during the December 2018 tests," the statement continued. "The two current student-athletes were tested prior to the December test, including in April and October of 2018 and again in January and February of 2019, and results came back negative for PEDs."
An attorney representing Galloway and Giella also said in a statement that the two players took a polygraph test corroborating their beliefs. However, the NCAA's committee denied the players' appeal even after the two presented their cases.
Giella played 114 snaps across 11 games in 2018 while Galloway caught five passes for 52 yards and a score.