SDSU Athletes Refuse to Be Tested : Two Accused of Taking Steroids Take Stand Against Miller

Two San Diego State track and field athletes who were ordered by Fred Miller, athletic director, to undergo testing for anabolic steroids said Friday they would not comply.

Also, the athletes' coach, Kent Pagel--husband of world-class shotputter Ramona Pagel--was reassigned last Tuesday from assistant coach to an assistant to Marilyn Hatcher, associate athletic director. Pagel said the reassignment had nothing to do with the athletes' alleged drug use.

"My reassignment is a result of other personal matters between me and Miller," he said.

Miller said: "We handle all personnel problems internally. We can't expose those matters."

The athletes, Scott Hoth, a discus and hammer thrower, and Tom Silva, a shotputter, were told Tuesday by Miller that their status in the program would depend on the tests, scheduled for Friday, as well as future random testing. Friday's tests were postponed indefinitely.

Hoth, a junior from El Toro, said he took steroids last year--and claimed that Pagel, a former UCLA thrower, supplied him with the drug. Hoth, however, said he has not taken the drug this year. Silva, a senior from Menlo Park, said he has never taken steroids.

"I want to take it (the test) because it would show everybody that I don't use steroids," Hoth said. "But it would be against my stance to take the test."

Silva also said he would not take the tests.

Miller, in a letter delivered to Hoth and Silva Thursday, said: "We have advised you previously of the need for you to agree to a physical examination which includes testing for steroid use and, during the next year, to random testing for steroid and other drug abuse and/or use as a condition to your continued participation in the University's intercollegiate athletic programs."

The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. does not have a drug-testing policy, though its bylaws state that athletes taking drugs without prescriptions are not allowed to compete in its championships. NCAA officials have encouraged individual schools to form drug-testing policies.

The International Amateur Athletics Federation, the governing body for track and field, and the International Olympic Committee, however, have banned the use of steroids from their competitions.

Steroids, tissue-building substances said to enhance size and strength, can be readily attained from pharmacies in Tijuana, generally regarded as the most popular black market source for the drug in North America.

Phil Cookson, a former SDSU thrower who said he quit the team in '84 partly because of a conflict with Ramona Pagel, said he went to Mexico to purchase steroids for Kent Pagel.

"He sure did (ask me to go for him)," Cookson said. "He had me go down there and buy a $30 bottle of steroids. I owed him some money from before when I bought $30 worth of steroids from him. He told me that if I went down and bought him the steroids, we'd be even. I said no problem."

Cookson, a discus and hammer thrower, said that Pagel kept steroids in his locker at the school. He also said Dixon Farmer, SDSU's head track and field coach, was aware of his drug use, but did nothing about it.

"I know of two other throwers and two decathletes who used steroids (between 1983 and '84)," Cookson said. "Even one of the assistant coaches was taking them."

In a prepared statement, Farmer said: "I was made aware of the alleged drug problem 18 months ago that I took to my superior, (then Athletic Director) Mary Alice Hill. We instituted a team drug policy at that time that we asked each athlete to sign and live by, and we have done so each of the past two years."

The policy states that athletes are prohibited from taking steroids and other drugs without a prescription, and those caught using drugs will be suspended from the team.

Miller, in his first year as SDSU athletic director, is looking closely at drug use. In a letter to Hoth, Miller said: "You have made statements which imply your use of steroids."

Miller, however, refused to say what prompted his initial suspicion.

Hoth and Silva said they believe Pagel implicated them.

"We had no idea why they pulled us off the track to go talk to Miller on Tuesday," Silva said. "We walked into his office, and he laid it straight out. He said, 'You two have been accused of using steroids. You're going to have to take a test or you will be suspended.' "

Hoth said: "When we brought up that Pagel had been the one who implicated us, it was apparent to us that he knew that we knew who had supplied him with the information."

Pagel said that he did not implicate the athletes. He said he did not know why Miller suspected them of using steroids.

Hoth said that he and Pagel were at odds since an incident last November in the thrower's weight room at Choc Sportsman Track.

Hoth claimed that Ramona Pagel assaulted him, but she denied the accusation. She said they had a verbal disagreement and had patched up their differences.

"It's true that I haven't got along well with them (Hoth and Silva), and it's apparent that they want to ensure it stays that way," Kent Pagel said. "(Scott) is creating a monster out of nothing. He's using Ramona as a target because of her name and she's available to get him more attention."

Silva and Hoth said they will compete today in Los Angeles when the Aztecs meet USC. A week ago, Hoth won both the discus and hammer events as SDSU defeated Cal State Long Beach and Arizona State in a tri-meet.

Said Farmer: "I don't normally have a lot do with the throwers, but I have had a lot to do with them lately and probably will have a lot to do with them in the next couple of weeks."

Miller said that Farmer's job was not in jeopardy.

"When you're the head coach and one of your assistants is involved with something, of course you're involved. But (Dixon) is only involved in the same way that I'm involved with it."

Miller was at home in Tempe, Ariz., for the weekend but said he will continue the investigation Monday when he returns.

"The worse thing you can do in a situation like this is not investigate it," Miller said. "I know one thing. The result of this investigation will send out a lot of clear signals as to what's going on."

Hoth said that, other than the situation concerning his use of steroids last year, he knew nothing more about drug use at SDSU.

"I never saw anybody else taking them nor did I hear anything about anybody else taking them," Hoth said.

Laura DeSnoo, a world-class discus thrower and a member of the SDSU women's team who lives with the Pagels, said she was surprised by the situation but did say: "I think that any time you're looking for something, you can find it."

Kent Pagel said: "Let's just say that it's my belief that (steroid use at SDSU) is why there is this whole problem. I can't say anything other than that."

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