In the wake of another far-reaching drug scandal in Major League Baseball this year, the Florida High School Athletic Association issued a dire but imperative warning to athletes and coaches under the organization's purview.
Banned substances such as performance-enhancing drugs threaten the integrity of high school sports, too, and the health of student-athletes. Coaches who provide such substances to youngsters will lose their positions, and athletes caught using PEDs, even if prescribed, will be suspended from play until medically clean.
FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing, a former Manatee County school district superintendent, also intends to conduct a thorough review of current association policies to find out whether stronger measure are warranted to prevent this substance abuse.
A number of professional baseball players earned long suspensions for using PEDs provided by a Miami company called Biogenesis. A recent Miami Herald report alleged that Biogenesis client lists include high school students.
While the FHSAA does not have the authority to conduct random drug tests of student-athletes, individual school districts can -- though the expense is great. The solution is education.
Pure and simple, PEDs amount to cheating. If teenagers are willing to start down that path while young, what can society expect from them as adults? Such dishonesty deserves steep punishment as the only course to discourage it.
Coaches and parents should be counseling athletes, pointing to the many scandals in professional and collegiate sports. National disgrace shadows a slew of Major League players headed for the Hall of Fame but now unlikely to be received there. Those cheaters will never live down the enormity of their sins.
High school football season kicks off in a few days. Let us applaud hard work and sportsmanship and not be fooled into cheering for cheaters.