Arrow-right Camera

WSU’s Spitz suspended for nine games


Failed drug test sends defensive tackle to sidelines until Nov. 6

PULLMAN – Dan Spitz, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, was ruled ineligible for the first nine games of Washington State University’s 2010 football season for failing an NCAA-mandated drug test late last year, the school announced Tuesday.

“Dan made a mistake and he is paying a very large price for that,” WSU coach Paul Wulff said in a statement. “Our athletic administration takes these issues very seriously and student-athletes are encouraged to consult with our athletic medicine, nutrition and strength and conditioning staffs with questions regarding any products. While that did not occur in this case, it will hopefully serve as a lesson for all our student-athletes in the future.”

The NCAA does not reveal the substance that causes an athlete to fail a drug test, but items on the organization’s banned list include stimulants, steroids and other anabolic agents, diuretics and other drugs used to mask steroid use, and street drugs.

According to NCAA bylaws, a drug-test failure results in a 365-day ban from competition. Spitz, a Mead High standout who missed the last two games in 2009 due to a concussion, will be eligible to play in the Nov. 6 home game against Cal. He can practice with the team while serving his suspension.

Spitz started five games last season, registering 16 tackles, which included a sack. Though he was not projected as a starter this fall, the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Spitz was expected to add depth to a position already hit with academic casualties.

Seniors Toby Turpin, who entered spring listed as a starter, and Josh Luapo, who started two games last year before a left anterior cruciate ligament injury ended his season, were lost to academics. In addition, the eligibility of senior starter Bernard Wolfgramm, is yet to be determined.

To shore up the interior of the defensive line, WSU is counting on junior college transfers including junior Brandon Rankin, who, at 6-5 and 271 pounds, shined in spring drills. Two other JC tackles – Al Lapuaho, 6-3, 295 pounds from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah and Steven Hoffart, 6-4, 270 from Butte College in Oroville, Calif., the same school Rankin played at two years ago – committed in the summer and are expected to contribute this fall.

The Cougars begin fall practice Aug. 8.

• Linebacker Andre Barrington, a redshirt freshman who was expected to be in the mix, was declared academically ineligible for the upcoming season.

Barrington, 6-1, 231-pounds from Federal Way, used his redshirt last season, occasionally missing practices days to study. That practice continued during spring drills, but despite the extra time and summer classes, Barrington did not meet the minimum NCAA academic standards.