Sprinters Challenge Arbitration Procedure

Times Staff Writers

Tim Montgomery and two other sprinters facing lifetime bans for alleged steroid use have challenged the procedure by which U.S. anti-doping authorities usually handle cases.

Montgomery, the world-record holder in the 100-meter dash, has invoked a never-before-used clause in asking that his case bypass U.S. arbitrators and go directly to an international body called the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“By turning to CAS, we hope that Tim will have the best opportunity to clear his name in a fair and impartial proceeding,” said Howard Jacobs, one of Montgomery’s lawyers.

The other athletes -- Alvin Harrison and Michelle Collins -- have taken exception to the way U.S. doping arbitrations are conducted.


The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency directs cases to a not-for-profit organization, the American Arbitration Assn., and requires that arbitrators be selected from a pool of approximately three dozen experts familiar with doping.

Attorneys for Harrison and Collins said this pool is tainted because of its frequent contact with USADA. The attorneys have requested that their cases be heard under commercial rules that draw from a larger pool.

Hoping to force USADA’s hand, Brian Getz, the attorney for Collins, filed suit in San Francisco federal court on Friday.

Choosing to bypass U.S. arbitration altogether, Montgomery’s attorney expressed different concerns about the investigation that has grown out of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, steroid scandal.


Jacobs questioned USADA’s use of circumstantial evidence and a policy change by which the agency lessened its standard of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “comfortable satisfaction.”

These and other issues, Jacobs said, “remove any confidence that Tim could be fairly treated in this process.”

The attorney for Chryste Gaines, a fourth sprinter charged with potential doping violations, could not be reached.