A report by Danny Robbins in Sunday’s Fort-Worth Star Telegram reveals that the Texas Tech athletic department paid for a number of dietary supplements ordered by a since fired sports nutritionist, including ephedra and other banned substances.
Athletic director Gerald Myers, basketball coach Bob Knight and football coach Mike Leach were among those whose approval was required on various documents that allowed Aaron Shelley to buy supplements.
Shelley pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of money laundering for his role in two schemes that resulted in Tech being overbilled by nearly $500,000 for dietary supplements. The schemes began soon after Shelley was hired in April 2000 and lasted until his firing in February, according to court documents.
Although Shelley’s fraud is the crux of the government’s case, the purchases raise questions about Tech’s oversight of the nutritionist and its commitment to NCAA rules, which bar schools from distributing dietary supplements to student-athletes unless the supplements meet certain criteria.
It also raises questions about whether student-athletes received ephedra, banned by the government in 2003 after it was linked to a number of deaths.
Tech records, obtained by the Star-Telegram under the Texas Public Information Act, show that Shelley received approval to purchase products such as Thermo Speed, a drink advertised as containing 340 milligrams of ephedra per 20-ounce bottle, and Jacked, a drink advertised as containing 200 milligrams of caffeine per single-serving bottle.
Another product purchased by Shelley, according to records, was Power Drive, advertised as containing guarana and green tea extract, which both are sources of caffeine.
A memo listing Thermo Speed and other supplements ordered by Shelley at a cost of more than $22,000 a month was stamped for routing to Knight for approval of payment in October 2001.
In addition to his duties as Tech’s director of sports nutrition, Shelley served as the strength and conditioning coach for Knight’s program.
(a typical Jacked user, shown here)
It is unclear if flipping out at a salad bar is amongst Ephedra’s side-effects.