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Clemson's investigation, appeal to NCAA continues in wake of ostarine scandal

CFP National Championship Clemson Alabama Football

Clemson's Dexter Lawrence (second from right) stands with teammates before the College Football Playoff Championship Game against Alabama. Lawrence was not allowed to play after testing positive for ostarine. AP Photo/Ben Margot

CLEMSON — More than three weeks after Clemson's football team made national headlines when a trio of players was suspended for failing a drug test, the university is still looking for answers and says it still does not know how ostarine got into the systems of Dexter Lawrence, Braden Galloway and Zach Giella.

The three players were among only 18 or 19 from Clemson tested for drugs ahead of the College Football Playoff, athletic director Dan Radakovich said just before the Cotton Bowl. The players were chosen randomly and the rest of the team was not tested.

The Tigers used 67 players against Notre Dame and 63 in their victory over Alabama in the national championship game.

"The appeal process is still ongoing," Joe Galbraith, Clemson's associate vice president for Strategic Communications told The Post and Courier on Tuesday. "Clemson continues to evaluate all possible circumstances around how these tests ended up positive."

Clemson first learned of the test results on Dec. 20. Ostarine is a banned substance found only in illegal products and is not approved for human consumption, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

When the news came out, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the team did not know how the players had ostarine in their systems and Lawrence, the star defensive tackle who is now headed to the NFL Draft, corroborated that sentiment in a meeting with reporters.

Clemson launched an internal investigation, which included asking players to make a list of every product they consume or ingest on a daily basis.

Clemson football investigating in wake of Dexter Lawrence, ostarine news

"I can say I’m not the type of guy to do a selfish act like that. I have too much pride. I love this team and my family too much to even think about putting a substance like that in my body,” Lawrence said at the Cotton Bowl, an outing for which he and the others were formally suspended after second samples also came back positive.

“I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how it got there.”

The next course of action for Clemson's legal team, which is facing an uphill battle after it tried to get the players eligible for the national championship game and was denied, is to continue to appeal.

The university was told its appeal timeline was 45 days from the day of the original motion, which would have come the week of the Cotton Bowl, played on Dec. 29.

For Lawrence, his focus turns toward how he will explain this to NFL personnel when he works out at the NFL Draft Combine. He is considered a first-round talent.

Matters are more complicated for Galloway and Giella, who each have eligibility remaining at Clemson and will stare down the bleak reality of a one-year suspension if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Galloway was a freshman tight end for the 2018 season and Giella was a redshirt junior offensive lineman. Clemson needs to know sooner rather than later about Galloway's status in particular, given that tight end Milan Richard has graduated from the program and fellow tight end Garrett Williams is still deciding if he wants to play another year of college football or go straight to the military.

Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor

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