About 19,000 more tests of Texas high school athletes produced seven positive results of steroid use.
The University Interscholastic League on Friday released results of tests done from September through December. Along with the seven confirmed cases of steroid use, 10 more require more testing after athletes showed elevated testosterone levels.
Another 48 students were classified as "protocol violations" for either refusing to provide a urine sample or having an unexcused absence the day they were selected.
Texas has the largest high school program in the country, aimed at testing up to 50,000 students by the end of the current school year. Since February 2008, the first 29,000 tests have produced only 11 confirmed results of steroid use, causing some lawmakers to question the value of the $6 million program. Gov. Rick Perry has suggested it may need to be scaled back.
Testing is conducted by the National Center for Drug Free sport, which randomly selects male and female athletes from all sports, although testing was tilted heavily toward football in the fall.
Of the 18,817 tests in the latest round, 4,535 were football players. Females were tested most often in volleyball (1,089). A positive test brings a 30-day suspension from play for the first offense.
The most common substance found in the seven positive tests were metabolites of boldenone, an anabolic steroid. It was found in four cases.
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All of the athletes testing positive were males. Five were identified as football players and one played football and also participated in track and field. The seventh played baseball and golf.
The seven positive tests were for four juniors, two seniors and one sophomore. Six were in Class 5A, the highest division of competition, and the seventh was in Class 4A.
Freshman and sophomores were tested most often, with 11,386 exams.