MLB, Players Union Agree to Implement Mitchell Recommendations

Major League Baseball and the Players Association have agreed to a policy on performance enhancing drugs that implements the recommendations made by former Sen. George Mitchell's report on the matter to Congress. The agreement is subject to review and approval by players and owners.

House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-Va.), whose committee held hearings on performance enhancing drugs in baseball, said in a joint statement today, "We are pleased that Major League Baseball has taken steps to strengthen its drug testing policy. We look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement announced today."

From MLB's press release, the policy changes are as follows:
1. Increased Independence - the Independent Program Administrator ("IPA") is appointed for a multiyear term and can be removed only in very narrow circumstances.

2. Increased Transparency - the IPA will annually and publicly report key statistics related to the program and record retention requirements will be lengthened.

3. Testing - 600 additional tests will be conducted each year and the number of off-season tests will double on average.

4. Flexibility - the agreement institutionalizes an annual review process to allow the parties to respond to new developments.

5. Education - the IPA, in consultation with the parties, will develop an annual mandatory education program for players.

6. Amateur Draft - Baseball's testing program will be expanded to cover top prospects.