UCLA's drug-testing laboratory, used by the International Olympic Committee, the NCAA and the NFL, is looking for $500,000 to buy an instrument that would forestall losing its IOC accreditation.
Dr. Don Catlin, head of the UCLA lab, said he had not heard from the IOC, but an Associated Press story from Lausanne, Switzerland, said Tuesday that UCLA was the only one of the 25 laboratories around the world accredited by the IOC that does not have the high-resolution "mass spectrometer" needed to meet the heightened specifications called for by new IOC rules for drug testing.
"If we have the certainty the lab will be equipped in the next three months, we can give an extension or a temporary suspension," IOC Chairman Prince Alexandre de Merode said. "But there will be no exemption. The machines must be installed or UCLA will lose its accreditation."
UCLA and Indiana Purdue in Indianapolis are the only U.S. labs approved by the IOC, and Indiana Purdue was able to buy a used instrument for $200,000, Catlin said.
He added that he has been shopping for an instrument to meet the new specifications for about a year, and that a new machine would require a lead time of eight to nine months.
"This is apparently an argument between Dick Schultz [the USOC president] and the IOC," Catlin said. "We are on the sideline and are a pawn in the game. We don't have a half-million dollars."
Catlin said he had not heard from Shultz on the matter, but Schultz has said that the USOC was offering to help UCLA pay for a used machine and was looking into buying one of the two spectrometers that will be employed at February's Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
"UCLA will be OK," Schultz said. "We will do whatever it takes to get the equipment. I think the IOC will be lenient as long as they know UCLA is working to get the machine."
That is Catlin's wish.
"It's my belief that if we're in a position to place an order, the prince will be lenient," he said. "Right now, we're the only one of the 25 in his flock that doesn't have an instrument."