For the second consecutive game, Clemson will officially be without three players, including starting defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, for the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Alabama.
B samples of NCAA drug tests last week showed trace amounts of ostarine, which is a banned substance.
“Clemson will not have tight end Braden Galloway, offensive lineman Zach Giella and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence available for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “However, Clemson has been informed by the NCAA that the three student-athletes will be permitted to travel to Santa Clara, Calif., with the team later this week.
“As requested by these student-athletes, Clemson filed notices of appeal with the NCAA. We will continue to work with the three impacted student-athletes and their legal representatives over the coming weeks to prepare the appeals. Neither Clemson, Galloway, Giella nor Lawrence anticipate having further comment on this matter until after the appeals have concluded.”
The Tigers had been preparing for their Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic matchup with Notre Dame when they learned that the three would not play. Lawrence, a junior who has 133 tackles and 10.5 sacks during his Clemson career, is widely projected as a future first-round NFL draft pick.
Ostarine is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is not legally for sale in the United States. There have been instances, however, of the drug being used in supplements without being included on the label. Clemson players have said that the school closely monitors what supplements are made available to players, and all players have a list of what has been approved by the training staff.
Lawrence said prior to the Cotton Bowl that he had no idea how the substance got into his system and denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“We get tested regularly and we know not to do anything stupid or selfish like that,” Lawrence said last week. “That’s why this is such a shock.”
Lawrence, Galloway and Giella, now face a suspension of up to one year, pending their appeal. That probably means the end of Lawrence’s college career, although he has said he had not made a final decision about his NFL prospects.
Galloway is a freshman, while Giella is a junior.
Coach Dabo Swinney said last week that the school was investigating potential ways the substance could have been consumed without knowledge by the suspended players, including looking at supplements, treatment including its salt-water float pool and aspects of treatment Lawrence received following offseason surgery.