Clemson tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella are ineligible for the entire 2019 season after the NCAA denied their appeals on penalties imposed on them for testing positive for a banned substance last year.
Galloway, Giella and former Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence tested positive for a trace amount of ostarine during drug testing in December 2018. All three were suspended for the College Football Playoff semifinal and national championship game. Lawrence has since left for the NFL, but Galloway is set to enter his sophomore year and Giella his senior year. Both were backups last season.
"We are disappointed in the results of the appeal and continue to believe our student-athletes did not knowingly ingest any banned substances," Clemson said in a statement Friday. "The Athletic Department takes seriously its role in the education, testing and enforcement of supplement and performance-enhancing substances. 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."
Clemson noted in its statement that Galloway and Giella were also drug tested in April and October 2018 and January and February 2019, and the results came back negative.
Attorney Robert Ariail, who represents both players, said in a statement that Galloway and Giella took polygraph tests to confirm their assertion that they did not knowingly take the banned substance. Ariail also said he presented information to the NCAA that shows ostarine is often found in products without being labeled.
Ostarine is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is not legally for sale in the United States.
Ariail also pointed out that the World Anti-Doping Agency recently recommended that in cases where trace amounts of ostarine are found, no positive findings be made. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has also lifted suspensions against five athletes who tested positive for trace levels of ostarine.
"Change in this area for the NCAA is inevitable and should have been recognized and applied in this case to reach a fair conclusion," Ariail said in a statement. "Its failure to do so resulted in an unfair denial of our appeal. The student-athletes are in complete agreement that PEDs have no place in collegiate athletics. In this case, it is our strong belief that no violation occurred."